Lavrov says high price of natural gas for Armenian consumers is shaped by domestic prices

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YEREVAN, April 22. /ARKA/. The price Armenian consumers pay for the Russian natural gas is shaped by a set of domestic prices, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

“Domestic prices in Armenia are a chronic problem that has not been addressed for several years. These prices are so high that they make it difficult to apply the most preferential pricing approaches,” he said during an online discussion organized by the Gorchakov Foundation.

Lavrov said it was inappropriate to recall allied relations with Russia only in some situations.

“When considering our Belarusian and Armenian friends’ requests, we certainly take into account our allied relations. But it’s wrong to remember them only when the situation becomes diametrically opposite to what was there 3-4 years ago, when the pricing mechanism was shaped taking into account our allied commitments, ”said Lavrov.

According to him, when the price for Russian gas was 2-3 times lower than the current price for Armenia and Belarus, this was taken for granted and no one said that that was politics. “Of course, allies should receive economic benefits, but there are also contractual obligations,” he said.

Lavrov emphasized that allied relations should be manifested in all areas of interaction, including economic ones. “Speaking about the economy, we very much hope that the lawsuits that were launched in Armenia against the joint ventures over the past couple of years, including the South Caucasus Railway, will be settled without trying to bring in things that are not appropriate for relations between the allies. I hope that we will regulate all these issues to mutual satisfaction,” he said.

On March 31, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan sent a letter to the head of the Gazprom Alexey Miller on behalf of the Armenian government with a proposal to start new negotiations on changing the price of gas supplied to Armenia.

Although the Russian natural gas is delivered to Armenia by Gazprom at $ 165 per one thousand cubic meters, Gazprom’s Armenian subsidiary – Gazprom Armenia – sells it to the bulk of Armenian households at almost $ 300.

Several criminal cases have been instituted in Armenia against the South Caucasus Railways CJSC (a subsidiary of Russian Railways, which was given concession management of the Armenian railways). In 2018, the Investigative Committee of Armenia began checking the company for the last 10 years to find out the effectiveness of the alleged investments of $226.8 million. The SCR, in response, claimed the investigation was biased. —

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