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MOSCOW, December 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia will provide a loan of up to two billion U.S. dollars to Belarus in 2014, President Vladimir Putin said after a meeting of the Russia-Belarus Union State’s Supreme State Council on Wednesday, December 25.
“I would like to inform you that the government of Russia made the decision at today’s meeting to provide assistance to our Belarusian colleagues in connection with the latest developments in international markets and disburse an additional loan to the Republic of Belarus in 2014 in the amount of up to two billion U.S. dollars,” Putin said.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko assured Putin that the loan “will not be eaten away.”
Since 60-70 percent of raw materials and components used in Belarus come from Russia, the loan will indirectly benefit the Russian economy too, he said.
“I can assure you that the support you have offered to Belarus today - by the way, it will be used to support the exchange rate, among other things - will not be eaten away, as people say. By so doing you support your own economy as well,” he said.
The president thanked Putin for the loan. “The government of Russia and especially the president of Russia, who are very good at counting money, don’t do anything without good reason,” he added.
Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev said the form of the loan was under discussion but it was unlikely to be taken from the National Welfare Fund.
Lukashenko also thanked Putin for the opportunity to visit the Olympic construction site in Sochi and assess the work done by Belarusian builders. “We did our job and built all of our facilities. They are operating and are fully in use,” he said.
He thanked Putin for “creating a beautiful world-class resort not only for Russians but also for Belarusians, a place where one can spend an excellent time both at summer- and wintertime.”
“We are the closest people and the closest states in the world. No other countries are as close as we are,” the Belarusian president said.
Lukashenko also said that Russia and Belarus had resolved all questions and Minsk had no more requests to make.
“Today we can say with confidence that there are no questions we could raise with our Russian colleagues or requests to make of you. We have resolved all questions on the eve of New Year’s Day,” the president said.
Lukashenko noted that despite existing problems, the two countries have managed to keep their trade at an appropriate level. “We have even increased it without the energy component, which is important,” he added.
He thanked Russia for helping Belarus become “a space power.” “We have entered the club of space countries,” Lukashenko said, adding that both countries were building spacecraft. “Belarusian people have their input there,” he noted and said that Moscow and Minsk would create joint ventures and step up cooperation in this field.