January 20, 2009 / 1:54 PM / 9 years ago

EU commissioner says gas deal big step forward

KIEV, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The European Union’s energy commissioner on Tuesday praised the Ukraine-Russia gas supply agreement restoring flows to Europe as “comprehensive” and its provision for eliminating go-betweens as a “huge step forward”.

“It is really comprehensive. First of all, it is really transparent so there is direect contact between Naftogaz and Gazprom (GAZP.MM>,” Andris Piebalgs told a news conference alongside Ukraine’s prime minister.

“I think it’s a huge step forward because it guarantees that there are no misreadings, misunderstandings or perhaps issues that usually arouse a lot of suspicion.”

Piebalgs said he had “no evidence that Ukraine has siphoned off gas illegally.” Russia had alleged during the crisis that Ukraine was “stealing” gas meant for Europe. (Writing by Ron Popeski, editing by Maria Golovnina)

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