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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lukashenko Talks May Concern Loan

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, seeking extra funds to help his country ride out the global financial crisis, held talks with Russia on Saturday.

A delegation from the International Monetary Fund is to arrive in Belarus on Monday to consider its request for a $2 billion loan, and Lukashenko's government has also been offered a loan for the same sum over two years from Russia.

The Kremlin said in a statement that Lukashenko held talks with President Dmitry Medvedev at an official residence outside Moscow that touched on the global financial crisis. It gave no details of any agreement.

Market analysts say Belarus has a total debt of $14 billion. It also faces the prospect of a sharp hike in the amount it pays for imports of Russian gas in 2009.

Analysts forecast robust growth for Belarus' largely state-controlled economy, but they say the liquidity crunch means that Belarus will struggle to refinance its debt and it lacks the reserves to make debt repayments on its own.