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Russia, Serbia still debating oil deal

April 21, 2008 at 4:28 PM

BELGRADE, Serbia, April 21 (UPI) -- Serbian President Boris Tadic said he won't reconsider an oil deal with Russia, Itar-Tass reported.

"It will be a new Serbian Parliament, having the full powers, that will ratify the energy agreement with Russia, which envisages the construction of a trunk pipeline," Tadic said.

Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu was in Serbia in the capacity of co-chairman of the intergovernmental committee for trade and economic, scientific and technological cooperation.

"This gas pipeline will be vital for our economy and industry and for bringing gas to Serbian households," Tadic said.

Moscow is pressuring Tadic and the Serbian government to ratify the agreement before the parliamentary elections in May.

Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has promised he will make an attempt to persuade the outgoing Cabinet to approve the recommendation in favor of ratification.

Russia insists on fast-tracking the agreement's ratification because it suspects Serbia's new Parliament and government may take months to form.

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