Bulgaria's Gas Middlemen May Be Cut

Russia may agree to remove intermediaries from its gas contract with Bulgaria, President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday.

"We're looking for transparent and direct relations," Medvedev said in an interview with Bulgarian state television, according to a transcript on the Kremlin's web site.

But Medvedev said he could not guarantee that gas shipments to Europe would not be halted again, blaming Ukraine for a disruption this month. Bulgaria has demanded a contract directly with Gazprom instead of the current deal through three subsidiaries.

Medvedev also said he and Prime Minister Putin had "good, working relations, but that doesn't mean that the president should close his eyes to the problems that exist," adding that he and Putin shared a common concern for "the interests of our people."

(Bloomberg, MT)