The Ukrainian president has assured the EU that a recently signed agreement on natural gas transits from Russia to Europe through Ukraine will be fully implemented, the European Commission president said Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.

Jose Manuel Barroso said after a meeting with Viktor Yushchenko in Brussels that the Ukrainian leader had assured him that Kiev would stick to the gas deal even though he is not fully content with the agreement.

Russian gas transits to Europe through Ukraine stopped on January 7 after Russia accused Ukraine of stealing Europe-bound gas and both sides failed to reach an agreement over a new gas contract.

Transits resumed January 20 after supply and transit contracts were signed with EU mediation. Days after the contracts had been signed, however, Yushchenko's aides said the president was unhappy with the deal and demanded new talks.

Barroso also said an international investment conference on modernizing the Ukrainian gas transportation system, involving representatives from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, will be held in Brussels March 21.

A gas pricing row between the former Soviet neighbors in 2006 also led to disruptions in shipments to some European consumers, and the latest spat has reawakened concerns about the reliability of Russia as a supplier.


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