MINSK, June 24 (Itar-Tass) -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Thursday the gas row between his country and Russia was absolutely groundless.
"It is an absolutely groundless dispute. But the main thing is that it arouse when Gazprom owed us a transit fee of 260 million U.S. dollars (which is generally traded off with gas supplies to Belarus), while our debt was 190 million U.S. dollars, even 187 million U.S. dollars. They acknowledged it and we have already paid these 187 million U.S. dollars," Lukashenko told in an interview with the Euronews TV channel.
According to the Belarusian president, there were no reasons for the conflict. In his words, the Belarusian side asked for a two-week delay to repay the debt. "But our ally, our closest nation, said: 'No, we won't wait a single day,'" he said.
Lukashenko explained his position in the gas row by the fact that Gazprom's debt of 260 million U.S. dollars had accrued since late 2009, and Belarus' debt arouse while the two sides were still negotiating payment terms for 2010, and that was the reason why Belarus opted to pay the last year's gas price.