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Beltransgaz General Director Vladimir Maiorov arrived in Moscow for talks with Gazprom on cooperation in 2009, Beltransgaz told Interfax.

Beltransgaz Deputy General Director Tsvitomir Sorokhan said earlier that an additional agreement on the price of gas for Belarus in 2009 will be signed with Gazprom by December 31, 2008.

According to earlier reports, the presidents Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus last week reached an agreement on the principles of gas supplies and the payment for the Russian gas supplied to Belarus. The details of the agreement were not reported.

Later, Lukashenko said he was happy with the outcome of the talks with Russia on the gas supply issue, saying the price for Belarus in 2009 will be "declining." "The price will be declining. It will drop 2.5-3 times in the period between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, and the price in 2009 will be acceptable to us," said Lukashenko.

Under the contract, the price for gas supplied to Belarus in 2009 is expected to reach 80% of the general price of gas supplied to Europe (minus the transport component) against 67% in 2008 and 90% in 2010. In 2011, Russia plans to supply gas to Belarus at the general European price. The price formula agreed upon in December 2006 is "pegged" to the cost of the equivalent oil products basket. The contract also provides that the gas price for Belarus can grow or decline by no more than 7% during the course of the year.

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