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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bulgaria Attempts To Patch Gas Fight

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov on Friday invited his Russian counterpart, Viktor Chernomyrdin, to Bulgaria to solve a commercial dispute threatening Russian gas supplies to the Balkan country.

Negotiations have been snagged for months over terms of the deal between cash-strapped Bulgaria and Russia, its sole supplier. Bulgaria first tried to eliminate Topenergy, a middleman dominated by the Russian gas company Gazprom, then to restructure it to balance out Bulgaria's and Russia's shares in the firm.

Gazprom balked at both efforts and has threatened to cut off supplies if the dispute is not resolved.

"I have invited Mr. Chernomyrdin to come to Bulgaria. ... The next move is up to the Russian side," Kostov told lawmakers Friday.

He said if company negotiators could not come to an agreement, he would seek a political solution through Chernomyrdin or during a meeting later this year between Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov and President Boris Yeltsin.