Belarus threatens to shut borders to imports

AP News
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Posted: Jun 17, 2011 1:02 PM
Belarus threatens to shut borders to imports

Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko says he may shut the ex-Soviet nation's borders and tighten controls over imports to cope with the financial crisis.

Belarus has been hit by its worst financial turmoil since the 1991 Soviet collapse. The country recently devalued the national currency, causing panic buying of goods.

Lukashenko said Friday that his government would shut the nation's borders if the country faces an "economic catastrophe" and fund only the most essential imports.

Belarus' main sponsor, Russia, has promised a bailout only on condition that Belarus privatize key industries, which long have been eyed by Russian tycoons.