The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is satisfied with the Brussels agreements on the modernization of the Ukrainian GTS and considers 'emotional' a response of Russia's top officials to these agreements.

Deputy Foreign Minister Kostiantyn Yeliseyev reminded that Ukraine was preparing this conference on a transparent and open basis, and the decision to hold the event was announced even in March 2008 at the Ukraine-EU Council meeting, UKRINFORM reported.

According to Yeliseyev, the theses envisaged in the declaration proceed from the accords between Ukraine and the EU that are included in the Memorandum of Understanding regarding energy cooperation signed in December 2005.

“It was clearly noted in the memorandum almost four years ago that the two parties will be holding activities to develop and modernize the infrastructure of energy sector... Ukraine and the EU will be cooperating to simplify attracting necessary investments into energy sector both on the part of international finance institutions and investors,” he noted.

The diplomat underlined that the Ukrainians invited Russia's representatives to the conference last December. “I hope that emotions [of Russia's top officials - ed.] will ease... and with joint efforts we: Ukraine, international finance institutions, and Gold willing - private capital and Russia, will be efficiently, fruitfully and mutually beneficially working to modernize the Ukrainian GTS, through which 80% of Russian gas is transited to Europe,” he said.

On March 23, the Ukrainian government, the European Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank (WB) signed in Brussels a joint declaration following the International Investment Conference on the Modernization of Ukraine's Gas Transit System.

According to the instrument, the Ukrainian government pledged to secure independence of the gas transit operator of Ukraine, in particular, through implementing the EC Directive of 2003 on the common rules for the internal market in electricity. The Ukrainian government promised to enable the gas transit operators to act on a commercial basis in order to fulfill their business plan in a long-term perspective. Ukraine also pledged to ensure an access of third parties to underground gas storages on transparent commercial conditions etc.

At the same time, the Russian delegation left the conference as its interests were not taken into account in this document.

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko stated that Ukraine will engage Russia in the modernization project.

For his part, Russia's Premier Vladimir Putin voiced concern as Ukraine may lose control of the GTS after signing of the declaration.

On March 24, Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev said that Russia had postponed inter-government consultations with Ukraine due to adoption of the memorandum on the development of Ukraine's GTS.


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