November 16 2008
Cash-strapped Belarus has said it may turn its back on the International Monetary Fund if the organization refuses to give it a US$ 2 billion loan.
The hard-line President of the former Soviet state, Aleksandr Lukashenko, issued the warning in an interview to the Wall Street Journal, which was broadcast on Belarusian TV on Friday.
“We survived without IMF loans before, during the severest of times” he said. “If they deny it now, we will build our co-operation with the IMF accordingly”.
This means the country would likely to sever ties with the IMF, often described as the international lender of last resort.
“I have told the government and the chairman of the National Bank that if they don’t help us in our situation – which is not as bad as in other countries to which they [the IMF] give loans – why should we co-operate?” Lukashenko said.
The hard-line leader added that as a member of the IMF, Belarus had regularly contributed money to the fund and taken part in its meetings.
“So what for do we need it all, if we are treated like this?” the Belarusian president concluded.