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Slovakia Extends Gazprom Talks Amid Push for Better Gas Price

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- The Slovak government is in no hurry to end negotiations with OAO Gazprom as it pushes the Russian natural-gas supplier to cut prices.

The talks, which were supposed to be concluded at the end of last year, will continue until better terms are reached, Economy Ministry spokesman Stanislav Jurikovic said today when reached by telephone in Bratislava.

Slovakia pays Gazprom among the highest prices for the commodity in the 28-member EU, Slovak Economy Minister Tomas Malatinsky said last October. While Gazprom offers the country price concessions, the Slovak government feels there’s space for an even better deal, Jurikovic said.

“If we can get a bigger discount, we will obviously do our best to get it,” Jurikovic said. “We are optimistic.”

An agreement with Gazprom would crown Prime Minister Robert Fico’s multiyear push to regain full control over Slovak consumer gas prices after the state bought back a minority stake in gas provider Slovensky Plynarensky Priemysel last year. That deal will be completed only after the accord with Gazprom is signed, Malatinsky said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladka Bauerova in Prague at lbauerova@bloomberg.net

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