There is no traffic between MTS and Velcom, its major competitor inBelarus, so far. Both Velcom and MTS have signed a kind of an agreement,but Velcom states that MTS signed a version, which had not been coordinatedwith them. This weekend, the conflict about the inter-network traffic inBelarus reached its peak. When MTS-Belarus, 51 percent in which is owned bythe Long-Distance Communications state company and the rest by MTS, startedoperating this June, the subscribers of the new provider were surprised tofind out that they had no connection with the 250,000 Velcom subscribers. A31-percent stake in Velcom is owned by the Beltelecom state company, 49percent - by SB Telecom, a Belarusian-Cyprian company, and 20 percent - bythe Beltekheksport company. Inter-network calls were blocked by Velcom.The agreement had not been signed before the beginning of August. Lastweek, the Belarusian Communications Ministry threatened the originator ofthe conflict to withdraw its license. The ministerial decree No14 as ofAugust 6, 2002, assigned the providers to reach an agreement before August8. A day before this deadline, Velcom passed its version of the agreementto MTS, but it was not signed on time. On August 9, the BelarusianCommunications Ministry said that it would deprive MTS and Belsel, aBelarusian mobile provider, of licenses, if the companied did not initiatetraffic with Velcom by August 12, 2002, the Izvestia newspaper reported..
Russia's Ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich, said that Moscow would treat any military intervention in the affairs of Belarus as an attack on Russia