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Putin urges Belarus to observe financial conditions

October 19, 2011, 18:18 UTC+3

The total sum of the EurAsEC loan to Belarus reaches three billion U.S. dollars

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ST. PETERSBURG, October 19 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urged Belarus to observe conditions for providing aid to it.

Speaking at the EurAsEC Interstate Council on Wednesday, Putin said, “I want to ask you that the conditions, which were coordinated by Belarus and our experts, will be observed timely.”

“We understand that it is not easy. Now it is necessary to implement the decisions in order to make them to work effectively,” the Russian prime minister stressed.

Putin recalled that the first tranche, 800 million U.S. dollars, had been provided to Belarus. “Now a decision should be taken to provide the next tranche – 445 million U.S. dollars,” he added.

The total sum of the EurAsEC loan to Belarus reaches three billion U.S. dollars.

Earlier, Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said the country did not give up a loan from Sberbank at the sum of two billion U.S. dollars.

“Now we are working on changing the terms, including on its early repayment. We believe that this loan can be received based on export contracts,” the prime minister said.

Commenting on if Belarus agrees to provide the loan on the security of 35 percent of Belaruskaliy’s stock, Myasnikovich said, “Russia insists on this.”

For his part, Belaruskaliy Director-General Valery Kiriyenko said he did not rule that Belarus would give up the loan of three billion U.S. dollars on the terms of Russia’s Sberbank and Deutsche Bank.

“Our government will disagree with Russia’s terms,” he said.

In June, Sberbank’s CEO German Gref said one of Russia’s biggest banks might become a consultant to the Belarusian government in privatization deals.

“We are in close contact with the Belarusian government and we hope we will be chosen as one of the government’s consultants in privatization deals,” Gref said.

Moreover, he did not rule out that his bank might issue loans to Russian companies interested in buying Belarusian assets. Thus, among such companies the Sberbank CEO listed the company owned by tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, who is interested in buying the Belaruskaliy potash company. It will happen, he said, “if the sides agree on the price.”

In the mean time, president of Troika Dialog investment company Ruben Vartanyan noted a gap between expectations of the seller and buyers’ interests. When asked to comment whether the Belarusian side fairly evaluates this asset, he said, “A strategic enterprise is on sale, and its current price is accompanied by future environment and infrastructure liabilities, and it means that the price includes not only the current but also the future payment.” In his opinion, the price might be reduced after negotiations.

“The enterprise will be evaluated and only with the evaluation done we can speak about real price,” Gref concluded.


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