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    RUSSIA AND BELARUS MAY BEGIN TALKS ON GRANTING CREDIT TO BELARUS TO PAY FOR GAS SUPPLIES TODAY

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    MOSCOW, February 24 (RIA Novosti) - The government information department reported that on Tuesday Russia's Vice-Premier and Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin and Belarussian Finance Minister Nikolai Korbut are expected to hold talks on extending a state credit to Belarus to pay the contracts on gas supplies to the republic.

    Kudrin's press secretary Gennady Yezhov said last week that "in a telephone talk with Kudrin, Korbut said that the Belarussian side has prepared a draft agreement on extending an intergovernmental credit for these purposes."

    Yezhov said that "for his part, Kudrin stressed that the Russian side is ready to start such talks but the credit's terms will be market ones, and its size will be linked to the agreement on gas supplies which the Belarussian side will conclude with Gazprom."

    So, in the Russian vice-premier's opinion, the talks on gas supplies and on granting a credit can go parallel, Yezhov added.

    On January 26 chairman of the Board of Belarus' National Bank Pyotr Prokopovich stated that Belarus is ready to take a credit, specifically from the Russian government, if it is profitable to do so.

    "It is up to the two governments to come to terms on whether to take a credit resource or not," Prokopovich said and added that the two sides had not cited the concrete sum of the credit so far.

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