Belarus violates accords on transit of Russia goods

MOSCOW, February 7 (Itar-Tass) - A record number of Russian trucks have stranded on the Belarussian-Lithuanian border waiting for the completion of clearance and escort procedures, the Russian Transport Ministry's press service said on Wednesday.

Belarussian customs services began in January checking all Russian good that are trucked from the Kaliningrad region to mainland Russia via Belarus.

Belarus also introduced compulsory escorting of trucks.

Previously, Russian goods were moved through Belarus on the basis of transport documents with clearance from the Kaliningrad region's customs authorities for trucking to Russia.

Belarus' practice caused jams on the border and raised charges for document registration and escorting.

Such actions of Belarussian customs services are a violation of agreements with Russia signed back in 1998, the Transport Ministry said.

The Kaliningrad region's transport companies incur heavy losses caused by border demurrage, breach of contract obligations and payment for escorting and parking, it said.

The Russia Federal Customs Service officially addressed the Belarussian State Customs Committee with proposals for settlement of the situation.

In particular, it offered simpler checking and clearance procedures.

The Belarussian government so far has not taken measures to improve conditions for the transit of Russian cargoes.

For this reason, the Russian Transport Ministry "does not consider it possible to consider issuing to the Belarussian side Russian permissions for the transit of cargoes to and from third countries".