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31 May 2021, 09:01

Lukashenko, Putin agree second tranche of loan, new Belavia flights

MINSK, 31 May (BelTA) – The Telegram channel Pul Pervogo posted some details of the informal meeting between Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on 29 May, BelTA has learned.

“The parties agreed on transferring the second tranche of the state loan. They also reached an agreement to open new Belavia flights to Russian cities,” the post reads.

As BelTA reported earlier, the second $500 million tranche of the Russian loan was expected in the first half of the year. The agreement on the Russian loan amounting to $1 billion was signed on 21 December 2020. The Finance Ministry of Belarus received the first tranche of the loan ($500 million) on 30 December 2020.

The Belarusian president arrived in Russia on a working visit on 28 May. On the same day in the evening, the leaders of the two countries held talks at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi. The meeting lasted for more than five hours.

At the beginning of the meeting, Aleksandr Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin traditionally exchanged statements greeting each other, noting the growth of cooperation between Belarus and Russia in various areas and expressing hope that the positive trends will be consolidated. The Belarusian head of state informed his counterpart about the situation with the Ryanair incident. He expressed confidence that it would be possible to overcome the challenges and external pressure.

The presidents spent part of the negotiations on 28 May over a working dinner and tea. The next day, Aleksandr Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin continued talks in an informal setting.

Press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov told the media about the details of the talks in Sochi, TASS reports.

“There were two big topics - the issues of further development of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Belarus, and the fight against the pandemic,” he said.

According to the Kremlin spokesman, there were formal talks between the leaders on Friday, and an informal meeting on Saturday.

European countries' hasty conclusions about the Ryanair incident are based solely on emotions, rather than an attempt to clarify the circumstances. From Moscow's point of view, the situation requires a thoughtful and constructive investigation, Dmitry Peskov said. According to him, a spate of hasty conclusions made by European capitals, Brussels, shows that this approach is based solely on emotions, not on an attempt to really clarify the circumstances.

“The transport ministries of the two countries - Russia and Belarus - have been instructed to organize all aspects of air communication, including taking into account the upcoming vacation period and the large number of citizens of Belarus who want to come to the Black Sea coast of Russia, and, importantly, taking into account the fact that a large number of Belarusians will have to return to their homeland somehow,” said the Kremlin representative. He clarified that now these citizens of Belarus are in European countries and have no opportunity to return to their homeland.

According to Dmitry Peskov, the parties discussed the organization of the air traffic, taking into account the decision of the European authorities and airlines to stop using the airspace of Belarus and the restrictions with regard to Belavia.

The second tranche of the Russian state loan amounting to $500 million has been agreed upon, and will be transfered in the near future.

Overall, according to Dmitry Peskov, the meeting of the presidents in Sochi was constructive. He stressed that this is only one of a number of usual Russian-Belarusian contacts at the highest level. He also noted that the special nature of the relations between the two countries, including their interaction within the framework of the Union State, makes these contacts absolutely necessary. “Both sides attach due importance to this,” Dmitry Peskov stressed.

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