Minsk and Moscow continue the talks on providing Belarus with $600 mln loan, but the Russian side has not made a final decision yet, Belarusian Finance Minister Maksim Yermalovich said.
As reported in late February, Belarus asked Russia for a loan to refinance its the entire sum of the payments on Russian government loans in 2019.
The decision to grant the loan was reached during meetings of the two leaders in 2018. Moreover, according to the minister, the funds totalling to $ 600 mln have been included in Russia’s federal budget. All that is needed is the Kremlin’s final decision.
Belarus is facing a similar problem when seeking the last tranche of the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development ($200 mln). There are reasons to await a favourable decision by th EFSD Council; the tranche will be available in Q1 2019, Yermalovich stressed.
However, it is highly likely that Vladimir Putin’s approval will be necessary for taking ‘final decisions’ on the two loans, which is hushed up by Belarusian and Russian officials, independent experts warn. In turn, the Russian president may use ‘allowing credits’ as a trump card in his further talks with Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
At the end of 2018, the Belarusian-Russian relations significantly deteriorated. In late December. there were some meetings of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader pressed for ‘further integration’ while his Belarusian counterpart insisted on reducing gas prices and getting compensation for the tax maneuver. The talks seem to have ended in deadlock.
In mid February, Lukashenka spent three days in Sochi where he repeatedly met with Vladimir Putin. They were reported to be discussing some of the most pressing issues, but no breakthrough was made.