MINSK, April 8 (Reuters) - Belarus is putting up for sale by international tender its 51 percent stake in the joint venture it has with Russia's biggest mobile telecoms firm MTS (MBT.N), a Belarussian deputy prime minister told the state news agency.
MTS, which holds the remaining 49 percent, has said it is interested in buying a controlling stake in the venture but talks foundered on price.
"These shares will go up for international tender. There was a proposal from the Russian company to buy a controlling stake. Negotiations were held, but we could not agree on price," minister Anatoly Kalinin, was quoted by the BelTA news agency as saying.
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said last month that Belarus was ready to sell its stake in the local MTS unit for $1 billion. [ID:nLDE72H0CY]
The move is in line with Belarus's plans to sell off state property to help plug a trade deficit which has caused central bank reserves to become seriously depleted.
The State Property Fund on Thursday announced it might sell part of its 50 percent stake in Beltransgas, a company that tranships Russian gas to Europe, to raise much-needed cash. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Richard Balmforth)
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