Russia-Belarus complications must be settled calmly - Shuvalov

MINSK, May 29 (Itar-Tass) -- Sporadic complications in Russia-Belarus relations are a byproduct of very intensive work, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in Minsk on Friday.

"The only reason for complications is our intensive work," he said in answer to an Itar-Tass question.

"We are actively fulfilling the Russia-Belarus anti-crisis plan approved by our presidents and governments. A lot has been done. The most important types of Belarusian commodities enjoy equal preferences with Russian commodities. This is the most important decision of the Russian government," Shuvalov said.

He admitted certain disputes, including those over the access of Belarusian producers to Russian credit resources and the subsidizing of interest rates in the purchase of Belarusian machinery.

"We may apply these mechanisms to Belarusian businessmen. What is more, we have never limited purchases of Belarusian commodities. We have no barriers and no limits in the imports of Belarusian commodities to the Russian market," Shuvalov said.

"Certain routine problems occur, and they are only natural. But we must remember that we are forming a common customs space. We cannot protect our producers forever," he said.

"In my opinion, any complications must be settled calmly," Shuvalov said.

Meanwhile, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said at the socioeconomic conference in Minsk on Friday that Belarus should cooperate with countries, which welcomed such cooperation.

"It is time for you, Sergei Sergeyevich [Prime Minister Sidorsky] and your ministers to stop walking the blazing trail. You should go to other places, which may expect us or may not know us, and sell ten tractors, a combine harvester or a teaspoon of sugar," he said.

Belarus has agreed to sell 40,000 tonnes of sugar to Kazakhstan, the president said. "The contract is signed. What is the problem? Why keep knocking on the door of Russia, which keeps kicking us?" he said.

"We witnessed an interesting situation yesterday. The president was amicably discussing various subjects, from personal to state, with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, while Kudrin was giving a press conference aimed to incite panic in Belarus. He did that right before the meeting of the Union State Council of Ministers," Lukashenko said.

"Kudrin fully solidarized with our hoodlums [the opposition] and tried to teach us how to work. If Russia's economy is that good, why its GDP is 10% down? Our economy is different; we have 1.5% GDP growth," he said.

"We are an independent country, and we will do whatever meets our interests," Lukashenko said. "There must be no begging. If Russia does not have the $500 million it promised us long ago, you must not beg for the money."



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