By Ruzanna Khachatrian
Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markarian has admitted today that despite continuing negotiations with the Russian side about the terms of supply of natural gas to Armenia, the already agreed gas price is unlikely to be changed.
Answering RFE/RL’s question on the government’s planned measures to alleviate the consequences of the hike in the gas price for the population, Markarian said: “We don’t want to say what we are doing until the negotiations are over, but it is out of the question that measures will be taken to alleviate the situation.”
At the same time, to the question whether another “equities-for-debt” deal with Russia was on the cards, the premier said: “I don’t want to provide details of anything at this stage.”
Beginning on April 1, Russia will start supplying natural gas to Armenia at a price of $110 per thousand cubic meters, nearly doubling it compared to the current price of $56.
Earlier this month, the Public Services Regulatory Commission sanctioned a nearly 50 percent increase in the price of gas delivered to households and industrial enterprises by ArmRosgazprom, the country’s sole gas supplier.
The Commission’s Deputy Chairman Nikolay Grigorian also confirmed yesterday that continuing negotiations with the Russian side were unlikely to result in any reduction of the already agreed price. “If a new agreement is signed, it will be a miracle,” he said.