A Welcome End To Russia, Ukraine Gas Row

The U.S. welcomed the Jan. 4 settlement of the natural gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Washington played no role in the five-year accord on pricing that ensured Russian deliveries to Ukraine and, through its transit pipeline network, to the rest of Europe.

"I think that in general we welcome it in that it was essentially a bilateral agreement between Russia and the Ukraine that settled the dispute between the two countries," McCormack said.

"One thing that we hope emerges from this episode is that the episode will stimulate longer-term efforts to increase the transparency, openness and efficiency in the energy sectors of the region."

The U.S. administration had expressed concern that Russia might be trying to put political heat on Ukraine's fledgling democracy by cutting critical gas supplies after Kiev refused to accept a steep price hike.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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