GAS DISPUTE

Russia, EU sign monitoring deal

Russian and EU officials signed an agreement on the terms of verification of the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to Europe. A total of 18 EU observers are scheduled to arrive in Ukraine over the next few days.

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AFP - Russian and EU officials on Saturday signed an agreement on the terms for verification of the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to European consumers, an AFP reporter witnessed.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, the head of Russian energy giant Gazprom Alexei Miller, and Czech Industry and Trade Minister Martin Riman, representing the EU presidency, signed the agreement at Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's residence outside Moscow.

The first five observers tasked with monitoring flows of Russian gas in Ukraine have arrived in the country, an EU spokesman said Friday.

"Five men of the team are here," David Stulik, spokesman for the European Commission delegation in Kiev, told AFP.

A total of 18 observers, including from Russian gas giant Gazprom, and at least four EU officials were scheduled to arrive in Ukraine "soon," he said, without providing more details.

A meeting in Berlin was currently taking place to determine exactly where the observers would be sent, Stulik added.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier that Russia was anxious to resume delivery of gas via Ukraine but could do so only once an agreement on independent monitoring of the flow had been signed.
   

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