OSCE Chairman calls on Russia and Belarus to settle energy dispute quickly

MADRID, 9 January 2007 - The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, expressed concern today about the lack of agreement between the Russian Federation and Belarus on the conditions for the supply and transit of oil.

"I hope the parties can find a mutually satisfactory solution as soon as possible, not least because of the potential economic and social consequences for the countries concerned," said the Chairman-in-Office.

Minister Moratinos recalled last month's OSCE Ministerial Decision on Energy Security Dialogue that expressed support for the principles and objectives aimed at strengthening energy security agreed at the Group of Eight summit in St Petersburg, Russia. The Ministerial Decision also reaffirmed earlier OSCE commitments on energy set out in an OSCE Strategy Document agreed in December 2003 at the Maastricht Ministerial Council.

That document emphasizes that a high level of energy security requires a predictable, reliable, economically acceptable, commercially sound and environmentally friendly energy supply which can be achieved by long-term contracts in appropriate cases.

"Agreements that provide security and predictability of energy supplies are in the interests of all OSCE participating States," Minister Moratinos said.