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RUSSIA ASKS BELARUS TO INTRODUCE VISA REGIME FOR GEORGIANS. The deputy director of Russia's Federal Migration Service, Mikhail Tyurkin, said his country has asked the Belarusian authorities to introduce a visa regime for Georgian citizens wishing to travel to Belarus, Ekho Moskvy reported on October 3. The report said Belarus's Migration Service confirmed that Russia's request is being discussed. Since Russia enforced a transport blockade with Georgia earlier this week, Georgian citizens wishing to travel to Russia have had to do so via a third country, usually Belarus or Ukraine. The establishment of a visa regime with Belarus would further complicate travel. FF
BELARUS CONCLUDES BORDER DEMARCATION WITH EU. Belarus and Latvia on October 3 put up the last pole at their common border, thus completing the demarcation of the frontier between Belarus and its Baltic neighbors and, effectively, between Belarus and the EU, Belapan and RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported. The demarcation of Belarus's borders with the two Baltic states started in 1998. A total of $13.5 million was reportedly spent on the project, including $8.84 million by Belarus and $4.66 million by the EU. The length of Belarus's border with Lithuania is 680 kilometers, with Latvia 170 kilometers, and with Poland 400 kilometers. The Polish-Belarusian border was demarcated during the Soviet era. The demarcation of the 1,100-kilometer Belarusian-Ukrainian border has not yet begun since Minsk is refusing to ratify a border treaty with Kyiv, making the ratification conditional on the repayment of Ukraine's debt to Belarus. The 1,300-kilometer Belarusian-Russian border has not yet been delineated. JM
UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT EXPECTS GAS PRICE IN 2007 AT $130 PER 1,000 CUBIC METERS... Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko said at a government meeting in Kyiv on October 4 that the price of gas imported by Ukraine in 2007 will be known later this month, Ukrainian media reported. "But we have grounds to consider that the price will be $130 [per 1,000 cubic meters]," Yanukovych noted, adding that the Finance Ministry has been instructed to draft a 2007 budget proceeding from this figure. Ukraine now pays $95 per 1,000 cubic meters of an imported Russian-Turkmen gas mix. JM
...AND GAS FROM THREE CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTRIES. Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko told journalists in Kyiv on October 4 that the Swiss-based gas trader RosUkrEnergo will provide Ukraine in 2007 with gas produced in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, Interfax reported. "We've already signed contracts to supply Ukraine with 7 billion cubic meters of Uzbek gas per year, a contract with Kazakhstan to supply 8.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, and one for 42 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas. In other words, we'll be receiving gas from three Central Asian republics," Boyko said. He did not specify whether RosUkrEnergo will supply Ukraine with gas produced in Russia next year. JM
OUR UKRAINE STILL UNDECIDED ABOUT RULING COALITION. Roman Bezsmertnyy, head of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine People's Union (NSNU), told journalists on October 3 that his party will decide on October 4 whether to enter into a ruling coalition with the Party of Regions, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party or switch to the opposition, Interfax-Ukraine reported. "If we become an opposition party we'll ask all of our ministers to quit the government and urge the president to recall his ministers," Bezsmertnyy said. The NSNU Political Council on October 3 obliged Bezsmertnyy to sign only a coalition deal that will include all provisions of the declaration of national unity adopted by President Viktor Yushchenko and major political parties on August 3. JM