Deputies doubt expediency of economic preferences for Georgia

A drafted resolution of the State Duma on the situation in Georgia, whichthe lower house intends to debate today, contains a request to the Russiangovernment to clarify whether the present preferential economic relationsbetween the two countries are grounded. Konstantin Kosachyov, deputychairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs, gave thisinformation to reporters today. He pointed out that deputies had nointentions "to tighten the rope," since Russia is interested in normalfunctioning of the Georgian economy, but they intended to requestinformation on the expediency of such preferences from the Cabinet ofMinisters. Kosachyov pointed out that Russia had granted a lot of privileges toGeorgia. Thus, Russian gas is supplied to that country at the price of $60per 1,000 cubic m, whereas its price on the international market is farhigher. Additionally, there are preferences for servicing the Georgian debtto Russia, which is about $200m. At the same time the Duma official underlined that the lower house wouldconsider a balanced version of the resolution on Georgia. The committee hasnot included such "extreme proposals" as ceasing the work on the UnionTreaty between Russia and Georgia, deporting about 800 Georgian citizensfrom Russia, supplying gas at the international price, etc., Kosachyovunderlined. .

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