Russian, Belarus premiers set to talk trade, economy in Moscow

MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will meet with his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Sidorsky in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss trade and economic issues.

Russia on Monday decided against disbursing the last $500 million tranche of a $2 billion stabilization loan to Belarus.

Russia decided late last year to allocate a $2 billion loan to Belarus. The former Soviet republic has already received $1.5 billion, but Russia's Finance Ministry has refused to disburse the last tranche, saying it needed to assess carefully the prospects of loan repayment.

Relations between Belarus and Russia, which have been trying for several years to establish a Union State, have been strained recently over a series economic and political disputes, including Russian energy supplies, a milk export row and Lukashenko's reluctance to sign a deal to set up a post-Soviet rapid reaction force.

The ex-Soviet neighbors announced plans in the late 1990s to form a union state in a bid to achieve greater political, economic and military integration, but the project has largely existed on paper.



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