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Beginning of Working Meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov

January 11, 2009

Gorki, Moscow Region

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PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Sergei Viktorovich, yesterday a document was signed on monitoring the transit of Russian gas via Ukrainian territory. Russia has put its signature to this document. I asked for the updates from the Government today. I want to know if the document signed by Ukraine has been received yet.

MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SERGEI LAVROV: Dmitry Anatolyevich, our representative at the European Union received the document with Ukraines signature today. But this signature is accompanied by a reservation that a certain declaration should be annexed to the document, and we have not received the text of this declaration. This declaration is in circulation however, and we have already seen it. Frankly, the text is very surprising because in part it contains false assertions (for example that Ukraine has no debts to Gazprom, that Ukraine did not siphon off gas, and that all of the gas Russia sent in transit to Europe was delivered) and it is half made up of provisions that simply contradict the sense of the document we and the European Union representatives have signed. Furthermore, it contains a whole series of demands that Russia deliver set volumes of gas to Ukraine.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: I see. I hope that the people who have signed the document with these reservations are fully aware of the legal consequences of their action. In this case we are forced to consider the document null and void. It will not be binding and we will not implement it until these reservations are withdrawn or in some other way annulled by Ukraine because these kinds of reservations cannot be seen as anything but a mockery of common sense and a violation of our earlier agreements. 

This action essentially seeks to annul the agreements reached on monitoring the transit of gas. These steps are clearly provocative and destructive in nature. I therefore instruct the Government not to implement the document signed yesterday. That is my first point. Second, I want you to inform our European partners that they have ended up in a rather complicated situation, and that we would like them to talk with the Ukrainians in order to get Ukraine to withdraw its reservations.

If this is done we will not have any objections to the documents content and its main provisions (I am referring to the document on monitoring transit) and we will be able to begin its immediate implementation. Observers have already gone to Ukraine and are ready to carry out monitoring at the necessary locations. We are ready to resume gas transit as soon as these reservations are withdrawn.

SERGEI LAVROV: We will pass on this instruction to our representatives in Brussels this very day.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Good, that is agreed then.

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