Russia, Belarus leaders meet, silent on loan request

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met his Belarussian counterpart Saturday for the second time this week after Minsk reportedly made a multi-billion-dollar loan request.

Medvedev and Belarussian strongman Alexander Lukashenko met in southern Sochi, the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics, and discussed the possible construction of a biathlon facility by Minsk, Russian television reported.

There were no comments of the reported loan request made by Lukashenko on Thursday when he met Medvedev at the fabled Zavidovo hunting lodge outside Moscow where Soviet leaders once entertained their closest foreign allies.

The Vedomosti business daily, citing anonymous sources in the leadership of both countries, reported Wednesday that Lukashenko would seek a loan from Russia worth 2.9 billion dollars (2.2 billion euros) at the meeting.

The Kommersant daily on Friday quoted Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin as saying: "We are examining the issue of extending a loan to Belarus."

Belarus, long a close ally of Russia, has also reached out to the West for help amid the global economic crisis, with the International Monetary Fund in January approving an emergency loan of 2.46 billion dollars to Minsk.

The long-isolated former Soviet republic has recently seen an improvement in its relations with the European Union and the United States. - AFP



Partners: Social Network