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EurAsEC Anti-crisis Fund approves loan tranche for Belarus


The Board of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC)'s Anti-crisis Fund, at a meeting in Minsk on December 7, approved the disbursement of another $440-million tranche of its $3-billion stabilization loan for Belarus.

"A positive decision was made. We believe all of the documents needed for the decision had been prepared," Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters in the Belarusian capital.

The minister said that the decision to make available another portion of the loan to Minsk amid reports that it had failed to fulfill some of the conditions attached to the loan was not politically motivated. "I can assure you that there is no politics [behind the decision], this is pure economy," he said.

Mr. Siluanov insisted that Belarus had fulfilled all conditions for receiving the tranche. He added that some of the conditions had been "adjusted."

The minister said that Belarus' failure to raise $2.5 billion through privatization this year, one of the loan's terms, had not influenced the decision to disburse the tranche. "The matter of privatization is a matter of the next stage of the program's implementation. We will consider it next year," he said.

Mr. Siluanov said that the "money will arrive in the near future."

The Russian finance minister's remarks were in stark contrast to what he said as recently as last week, when he accused Belarus of failing to meet all conditions for receiving the next tranche.

Approved by the board of the EurAsEC Anti-crisis Fund on June 4, 2011, the stabilization loan for Belarus was aimed at supporting the country's efforts to improve its balance of payments. The 10-year loan was to be disbursed in six tranches within three calendar years.

The loan has a grace period of three years and carries a floating interest rate set on the basis of the reference rates of the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan.

The first, $800-million tranche of the loan was made available to Belarus in June 2011. Another portion, $440 million, was provided in late December. Belarus received the third, $440-million tranche in mid-June 2012. //BelaPAN

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