Minsk, Sep: Belarus Thursday expressed its willingness to extradite the head of the Russian potash producer Uralkali, held last month in the country, softening its stance in a bitter dispute stemming from Uralkali’s pull out of a lucrative potash partnership with Belarus.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that he did not rule out the possibility of extraditing Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner if Russian law enforcement agencies conducted an appropriate inquiry into his actions in accordance with the law, Xinhua reported.
“If Russian investigators are interested in the extradition of Russian citizen Baumgertner, arrested by us, I do not see any particular obstacles,” he said.
Stressing that the potash row should not be allowed to spoil bilateral relations, the president urged the countries to do everything possible to investigate this dispute.
Baumgertner, former chairman of Belarusian Potash Company, a joint venture set up by Uralkali and Belaruskali in 2005, was detained Aug 26 while visiting the Belarusian capital, a month after the collapse of the potash sales cartel.
The former alliance between the two companies controlled about 40 percent of the world potash market.
The arrest put a new strain on the relationship between Russia and Belarus.
Belarus accused Baumgertner of abuse of power after Uralkali pulled out of the trading agreement, a move that infuriated Belarus and could bring international potash prices down 25 percent.