Minsk, Oct 12: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has favoured good relations with Russia, while saying that the potash companies’ case should not harm the two countries’ partnership.
On Aug 26, Belarusian authorities detained the Uralkali General Director, Vladislav Baumgertner, in Minsk, on suspicion of abuse of power. Baumgertner was chairman of the Belarusian Potash Company, a now-defunct joint venture between Russian fertilizer maker Uralkali and a Belarusian potash producer Belaruskali, Xinhua reported.
Uralkali announced July 30 that it would end output restrictions that underpin world prices and halt exports through Belarusian Potash Company, which controlled 40 percent of global exports. Baumgertner’s detention has drawn a fierce rebuke from Moscow.
“When I met with Russian President Vladimir Putin I said that no Kerimov or Baumgertner are worthy to fight over and damage our relations at the state level or personal relationships. He agreed with me 100 percent,” said Lukashenko during a press conference here Friday for Region Russian regional media.
According to the Belarusian leader, Russia’s damage from the potash case is incommensurable with that of Belarus. “The shares of our company have not collapsed. Yes, our budget has lost up to $1.5 billion. Russia has lost twice as much,” Lukashenko said.
Lukashenko, however, accused top managers of Uralkali, the Russian potash fertiliser company, of fraud. “They sold the stock at the brink of the company’s breakdown, when the stock quotes were more or less high. Then they started to buy shares when they plunged. That is fraud. Why does Russia not see that? That must be punished.”
The Belarusian President stressed that his country is ready to restore relations with Uralkali, a Russian potash fertiliser company. “We are ready for this, even after everything that has happened. But this is for your state to decide. If I were to decide I would make sure these assets are in the hands of trusted people overnight,” he told Russian journalists.