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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Belarus to Charge Russia for Land Under Pipes

Itar-TassFradkov and Sidorsky sharing a toast after the signing of a bilateral trade and economic deal in Minsk on Friday.
Belarus will charge Russia for the land underneath oil and gas pipelines that carry Russian fuel to Europe, seeking to compensate for Moscow's decision to double the price of the gas it sells to its former Soviet partner.

"Nobody pays for land leasing now," Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in a decree released on his web site Thursday. "This money will be additional revenue for the state budget."

The leasing agreement must be signed by August, Lukashenko's decree said.

Russia will have to pay $5 million per year for the land, the Unian news agency reported.

Belarus wants to raise at least $3.5 billion this year by increasing oil transportation and other tariffs, Lukashenko said Jan. 23.

On Friday, Belarussian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky complained that Russian oil companies had failed to comply with agreements on crude oil deliveries to Belarus reached early this year, Itar-Tass reported.

"We coordinated the formula and charges on crude oil deliveries to Belarus. Yet the question of profitability has recently popped up again," he said, the agency reported.

Belarus and Russia signed an accord aimed at resolving trade issues between the two countries.

"The main idea of the agreement is to facilitate access of commodities to the markets of our countries in order to avoid restrictions," Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said at a news conference in Minsk, Itar-Tass reported.

Bloomberg, MT