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The negotiations with the Russian partners on the conditions for a USD 1bn loan will be continued. Serbia wants to use USD 200mn of that money to cover the state budget deficit, and the rest for infrastructure projects.
The Serbian Ministry of Finance has confirmed that negotiations would continue in Belgrade, and that the Russian government officials are yet to table their "complete offer".
"Although we had planned to use the money from the Russian Federation arrangement on offer this year, we will be forced to start using those funds in 2010," a ministry source told Belgrade daily Večernje Novosti.
According to this, the Russian side has suggested that Russian companies should be engaged in the infrastructure projects, while the loan itself should be paid back within ten years, with a grace period of a "year or two".
Unofficially, Belgrade is unhappy with this prospect, and believes that "setting conditions for the use of the loan automatically creates space for a better offer from Moscow".
As for the portion of the loan that would go to the budget, "the Russian conditions thus far have been unacceptable", said the source, and added that "there is room for new negotiations".