Iran seen helping Belarus to build hydro projects

An official of Belarus utility Belenergo says Iranian experts might cooperate with Belarus in the construction of hydroelectric projects in the former Soviet republic.

Shortly before a state visit to Belarus by Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Belarusian Telegraph Agency (BelTA) quoted Alexander Sivak, first deputy director of Belenergo, saying Belenergo representatives explored the possibility of joint activity during an April visit to Iran.

Sivak said Belarus and Iran officials discussed the potential for construction of hydro plants in Belarus, the manufacturing of main power equipment, and the possibility of Iranian assistance in plant design.

The official said Iran might take part in implementing the 17-MW Grodno project on the Neman River and the 23-MW Polotsk project on the Western Dvina River. However, he added all contractors would be selected by tender.

Belarus has allotted 143.38 billion rubles (US$66.8 million) for Grodno and 149.78 billion rubles (US$69.8 million) for Polotsk in its 2007-2010 development program.

Ahmadinejad arrived in Minsk May 21 to discuss cooperation �in all areas� with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.

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