Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Belarus President sees 2 percent GDP decline in 2016

RFE/RL based on reporting by Interfax and Gazeta.ru

Belarus President sees 2 percent GDP decline in 2016
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
Belaruss president has said the countrys gross domestic product (GDP) will decline by 2 percent for 2016.

President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said in Minsk on November 17 that he expects the economy to grow in 2017.

Belaruss GDP declined 3.9 percent in 2015. The Eurasian Development Bank has forecast a decline of 2.6 percent for 2016, while the International Monetary Fund predicts a 3 percent fall.

Lukashenka also told reporters he plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin around November 22. Earlier, Moscow announced a planned visit by Lukashenka toward the end of the month.

Lukashenka said "lots of problems" were complicating relations with Moscow.

"Regrettably, nothing new has been done [in 2016]," he said. "Negative aspects outweigh [the positive]."

He added, however, that Minsk and Moscow must "present a united front" to defend their interests in the international arena.