The Russian loan granted to Belarus will allow the two countries to stop using U.S. dollars in their settlements, Pyotr Prokopovich, chairman of the Board of the National Bank of Belarus, stated on Thursday. According to him, the first tranche of the Russian loan is expected to be received in the republic after an agreement on Russia's allocation of a stabilisation loan "undergoes a full procedure of ratification." Initially the loan was earmarked both for maintaining the Belarussian ruble's exchange rate and expanding the Russian ruble's sphere of operation, Mr Prokopovich specified. "As far as the first position is concerned, we could do without the loan - could maintain the Belarussian ruble's exchange rate independently," Pyotr Prokopovich noted. "As to the second position, it's very pressing," he said. Currently, settlements between enterprises of the two countries are made in dollars which could be directed to implement other objectives, the chief Belarussian banker explained. Touching upon cooperation between the National Bank of Belarus and Western partners Mr Prokopovich stated that this year was marked by a fruitful cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, in particular, whose managers have just approved the programme of the Fund's monitoring of Belarus socio-economic development. The next stage may be granting a stabilisation loan to the republic.
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