Kocharian Putin Mull Future of Armenia’s Energy Sector

(Combined Sources)–The price of Russian natural gas was high on the agenda of Armenian President Robert Kocharian’s meeting in the Kremlin with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Sunday.

Kommersant news reported the two agreed that Russia would either raise the price of gas supplied to Armenia–or Armenia would have to hand its gas infrastructure to Russian Gazprom in order to enjoy cheap gas for one year. According to the source–what would be up for grabs is a 45 percent stake in the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline that is currently under construction.

Following their talks–Kocharian and Putin praised the "strategic partnership" binding their nations–but neither mentioned the gas dispute in their speeches or televised remarks.

"We hope that a final agreement will be reached by mid-February," said Kocharian’s press secretary–Victor Soghomonian."

Armenia has until now paid $56 million per thousand cubic meters of Russian gas. Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom monopoly has put forward a much higher price tag: $110 per thousand cubic meters. It agreed last month to give Yerevan a reprieve until April 1.

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