Russian envoy: Loans solely for modernization purposes

Russia may provide a loan to Belarus if it is used to modernize companies involving both Belarusian and Russian capital, Ambassador Alexander Surikov told journalists, commenting on the Belarusian government’s request for a $2-billion loan. It would be more difficult for Belarus to obtain funds from Russia “for no particular purpose,” Mr. Surikov said.

“Whether this would be a state loan or a bank loan is another matter,” he said. “The important thing is that the funds should be spent for the modernization of joint enterprises.”

Russia has already approved the list of such “integration projects,” Mr. Surikov said. They are known to the general public and include the establishment of a Belarusian-Russian holding company that would control Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) and Russia’s truck company KamAZ, he said. Also under consideration are projects that would involve Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant, chemical company AAT Hrodna Azot and electronics maker AAT Integral, he said.

Aliaksandr Lukashenka announced in late December that Belarus had asked Russia for $2 billion in “cheap loans.” Moscow has not rejected the request and has asked Minsk to draw up a list of the companies that it wants to modernize with the loans, he said. He added that if the companies received the loans, Russia might obtain a stake in them in exchange.

Belsat,following BelaPAN