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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

World Bank Asks Belarus To Reform

MINSK, Belarus -- The World Bank has reiterated that it will resume lending to Belarus only if the former Soviet state embarks on a course of market reforms and the International Monetary Fund restarts financing.

"The bank is ready for cooperation," Vladimir Kulik, the World Bank's resident representative in Belarus, said at a news conference Thursday. "But one more time we stress two main conditions - a unified [exchange] rate and price liberalization. The solution of these two problems will be a signal for the bank."

Foreign donors and investors bypass the country of 10 million people, where the government tightly controls the economy, regulates prices and uses a complicated multiple exchange-rate mechanism.

Soft loans are common, and annual inflation exceeded 350 percent in August.

Both the World Bank and the IMF recalled their Minsk representatives last year to protest the economic policy, but earlier this year the World Bank reopened its office in a bid to push the government to reform.

"It is an open secret that the bank's board would like to hear about the government's plans concerning the reforms that should be made," Kulik said.