Belarus aims to raise one billion USD in foreign loans in 2007

Minsk, Feb 7 (NNN-BELTA) Belarus wants to raise up to one billion USD worth of foreign bank loans this year to make up for the increase in the Russian oil and gas prices, Finance Minister Nikolai Korbut said.

He added in an interview with the Reuters news agency here Tuesday: "So far we have settled the problems with the help of mainly internal sources. To survive the sudden rise in oil and gas prices this year we will need foreign support in the form of bank loans."

"I think we will be able to attract bank loans of about one billion USD," he added. "The sum is manageable by the country in terms of its potential to serve the external debt. Foreign creditors have never had any problems with Belarus and we do not have any overdue debts."

Korbut added that Belarus is not going to attract state loans but has been negotiating syndicated loans with banks in Russia, Britain, the United States, Switzerland and several other states.

The finance minister also said that Belarus does not rule out placing Eurobonds and is ready to issue bonds worth of up to 10 billion rubles in the Russian market. "We have drafted all necessary documents concerning this issue. At the same time we have been working on the project to issue the bonds," he said.