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AP: Belarus President Lashes Out at Russia

From the Associated Press:

“If they are drowning in petrodollars and other currency income and have decided … to place us in conditions worse even than Germany and other European countries, then let’s ask this rich Russia to pay us for our services,” said an agitated, pale-looking Lukashenko, shouting at times in televised remarks during a government meeting. … Lukashenko said he had ordered the government “to send Russia a proposal on payment for everything they get here for free _ from military facilities and transit.” … Lukashenko, who gave in to long-standing Russian pressure to sell a half share in his country’s gas pipeline system as part of the gas price agreement signed in the final minutes of 2006, said that he had fulfilled Russia’s demands and now wants Russia to fulfill his. He said he had issued Sidorsky “a direct order to sign an unfavorable agreement on gas” because, he claimed, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov had promised that reaching a gas deal would bring a resolution to disputes on the oil customs duty and what Belarus says is blockage of its sugar exports. … The outspoken Lukashenko said it would bring the oil price to levels that would put “millions of people in Belarus” out of work _ an apparent reference to refineries that are now operating on reserves and other industrial enterprises that could be affected in the nation of 10 million.