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    RUSSIA READY TO GRANT STATE LOAN TO BELARUS

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    MOSCOW, February 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to grant a state loan to Belarus for the latter to be able to pay off the state securities issued in Belarussian rubles, a high-ranking official in the Russian Government has reported.

    The official specified that the Russian party is ready to grant such a loan after it has been agreed to introduce Russian ruble in Belarus as the only legal tender.

    According to preliminary estimates, it will take 2 bln rubles to pay off the securities.

    The Russian and Belarussian Finance Ministries are to draft a relevant agreement within two weeks.

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