Belarus will not agree to establish a new joint trader with Russian potash producer Uralkali if it is based in Moscow, Aliaksandr Lukashenka said at a government conference in Minsk on Thursday.
He referred to media speculation suggesting that ‘Belarusians and Russians have nearly restored their joint sales company and are nearly creating a new company based in Moscow.’ ‘I want to say that this is a pack of lies,’ he said adding that Belarus would never agree to a Moscow-based joint potash trader.
At the same time, he said, Minsk is open to talks with the Russian company. ‘We are ready to restore our cooperation, which we had in the best years. But such a company would be based only in Minsk,’ he warned. ‘We will not establish any foreign-based companies, this is what we have learned from our sad experience.’
Russia’s newspaper Kommersant reported on Thursday that Uralkali was preparing for talks with Mr Lukashenka about the restoration of its export alliance with Belarusian potash giant Belaruskali.
Uralkali will propose the replacement of Belarusian Potash Company, which is de facto defunct now, with a new joint trader that would be headquartered in Moscow. The Russian company wants to have a 65-percent stake in the trader, something that Minsk is opposed to, said the paper.
Uralkali announced its decision to quit Belarusian Potash Company, in which it held a 50-percent stake, on July 30, 2013. The collapse of the sales cartel angered the Belarusian authorities which accused Uralkali’s executives of abuses of power and arrested the Russian company’s then-director general, Vladislav Baumgertner.
www.belsat.eu/en, via BelaPAN