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EU says Ukraine gas talks to be continued next week

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-22 11:25

EU says Ukraine gas talks to be continued next week

EU Commission Vice-President Guenther Oettinger gestures during a press conference after a trilateral gas meeting between EU, Russia and Ukraine in Brussels, Belgium, Oct 21, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

BRUSSELS - European Commission Vice-President Gunther Oettinger in Brussels on Tuesday said that financial gap over the Ukraine gas issue still need to be addressed.

He made the remarks in a European Commission statement as he attended a trilateral gas talks Tuesday among Ukraine, Russia and the European Union (EU).

He said that "we made another step towards a possible solution and are close to an agreement on important elements. Others still need to be addressed, such as the financial gap".

According to the statement, a new round of talks is envisaged for next week on Oct 29 in Brussels. Until then, the EU and Ukraine "will explore ways how to close the financial gap".

Oettinger noted that some cornerstones are undisputed such as Ukraine would settle its debts based on a preliminary price of $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters by making payments in two tranches: 1.45 billion dollars by the end of October and $1.65 billion dollars by the end of the year.

And Ukraine will pay 385 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters for gas to be delivered this winter without being subject to take-or-pay obligations. The exact volume has not been agreed yet.

Russia will deliver the gas following advanced, monthly payments by Ukraine, according to the statement.

A winter package is necessary as both Ukraine and Russia have referred the dispute to the international arbitration court in Stockholm and a final decision on the price and the debt is only expected next year, it said.

Ukraine and Russia have been embroiled in a standoff on gas pricing for a few months. In June, Russia cut all gas supplies to Ukraine as the two sides failed to reach an agreement on payments.

The EU is heavily dependent on Russia, from whom it imports a third of its oil needs, 39 percent of gas and 26 percent of solid fuels, according to official EU statistics.

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