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01 March 2019, 15:08

Belarus president concerned about Russia's unwillingness to negotiate long-term gas price

Alexander Lukashenko
Alexander Lukashenko

MINSK, 1 March (BelTA) – It is wrong that Russia protracts negotiations on the gas price Belarus will pay as from 2020. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement as he met with representatives of the general public and expert community, Belarusian and foreign mass media on 1 March, BelTA has learned.

Alexander Lukashenko said: “We've come to terms on natural gas this year. Next year we are going to have another battle similar to the tax maneuver. Russia has made no move so far regardless of our attempts [to start talks]. They don't even want to negotiate. It is wrong.”

The president stressed that Belarus does not need cheap natural gas. “Our BelAZ, MAZ, MTZ, our people should have conditions on par with the conditions Russians enjoy. It is an unavoidable axiom. It is what all unions are all about,” the head of state pointed out.

“We don't need anything cheap. We don't want to live off Russians. We would like to work together with you in the same economic and trade space on equal terms. If the price for resources is $60, fine. If it is $200, fine, too. But competition should be honest and fair if we are to build our union relations. That's the problem,” Alexander Lukashenko explained.

Speaking about the allocation of a Russian loan, the possibility of getting debt to the tune of $600 million refinanced is the idea. “But if it is that difficult and impossible [for the Russian side], we will not beg on our knees. We will deal with the problem somehow. I don't think it will be a huge problem for us. Moreover, relations with western countries are getting better one way or the other. They lend us respectable sums of money,” the head of state noted.

The president also mentioned that he will host a government conference on 5 March to discuss integration issues.

As for the next meeting with President of Russia Vladimir Putin, no specific date has been planned. According to Alexander Lukashenko, if there is a need for it, they will organize it within 24 hours. “Our relations are such that we can always find time for a personal meeting and negotiations if need be,” the head of state concluded.

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