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China willing to lend Belarus $200m to repair M5 highway

20 July 2010

MINSK, 20 July (BelTA) – Belarus is in negotiations with China on the loan for the reconstruction of M5 Minsk-Gomel highway, Alexander Golovnev, the chief of the road maintenance office at the Belavtodor department of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Belarus, told a press conference.

The issue regarding the Chinese $200m loan is in the works, Alexander Golovnev said. A round of talks has been held with Chinese banks. “There are grounds to believe that the loan will be provided. We need to implement this project in two years,” he said.

The Chinese banks offer tied loans. This means that Belarus will have to use Chinese materials, equipment, and hire Chinese specialists. Belarus is now negotiating the reduction of the degree of Chinese involvement. Initially the Chinese side insisted on 70%. Belarus has managed to negotiate this share down to 30%. “This is acceptable for us as our road construction and maintenance companies are not utilized in full,” Alexander Golovnev said.

Belarus is now looking for a Chinese construction company which would be willing to work in Belarus. “Chinese banks will extend the loan only after we find a cooperation partner,” Alexander Golovnev said.

Belarus continues the negotiations on the loan for the reconstruction of the Osipovichi-Bobruisk part of M5 Minsk-Gomel highway with the World Bank. All necessary documents have been approved by the government. The Ministry of Transport and Communications have been authorized to sign the loan agreement.

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