Belarus and Georgia reaffirmed their interest in the enhancement of bilateral cooperation at all levels. This is result of the official negotiations of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Georgia President Giorgi Margvelashvili in Minsk on 1 Matrch.
During the one-on-one meeting which lasted for about three hours the heads of state discussed a wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation, focused on the development of trade and economic cooperation.
“We are always glad to see our Georgian brothers in Belarus. We have more than just common history. Thousands of Georgians fought for the liberation of Belarus on its territory. Unfortunately, many brothers from Georgia died when protecting and liberating Belarus. This is the part of history which will never be forgotten and cannot be forgotten. Therefore, you are very close people for us, we have always had and have great respect for your history and the people who are living in this heroic piece of land called free and independent Georgia,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “We feel that we have good relations, therefore we are prepared for comprehensive cooperation with Georgia and its people.”
In spite of the difficult situation in the global economy, the trade turnover between the two countries went up 63% in 2016 and reached a record high level in the past five years. “Perhaps, this trade could be even higher. It is smaller than we have planned. We have once agreed that $200 million will be the first step in our trade that we must reach. However, we must acknowledge that we do not have such growth rates with any other country. Moreover, this is a very serious growth even against the backdrop of the Eurasian Economic Union where we, unfortunately, have seen a decline. Of course, the volumes are not comparable, but the trend gives us hope,” the President said.
Belarus and Georgia should pays attention to new initiatives if they want to develop cooperation. “For example, in the near future Georgia plans to erect an ice arena and a biathlon stadium at the mountain ski resort Bakuriani. Belarusian design and construction organizations are ready to help you.” The President added that the Georgian side can be interested in Belarus’ efforts to attract people to sport facilities, use their infrastructure for holding sports and public events. There are many contact points in the urban economy, development of municipal transport and utility services. “New high-tech enterprises have been created in Belarus in recent time. These products are already available on the Georgian market. Stadler trains were delivered to Georgia last year. We hope that you will start using our transport equipment, too. By the way, we can establish the joint production of this equipment in Georgia. We can start with the shipment of the equipment from Belarus. In any case, it will be much cheaper than foreign analogues,” the head of state emphasized.
Alexander Lukashenko also deems it necessary to mull over the participation of Belarusian enterprises in the system of public procurement contracts in Georgia. This pertains to the production of uniform and the procurement of food for law enforcement agencies. “As you can see, there are many projects of mutual interest. Our main objective is to use viable and responsible approaches to their development and implementation,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
“Along with the pragmatic economic issues, we pay serious attention to the development of the humanitarian component. The mutual exchange of the Days of National Cultures gives us a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the history and traditions of our nations. The Belarusian and Georgian societies need to hold them,” Alexander Lukashenko is convinced. “During the previous meetings I repeatedly stressed that Belarus is not an alien country for Georgia. We have been and remain brotherly nations.”
The Georgian head of state underlined that the visit of the Belarus president to Georgia in 2015 gave a new impulse and energy to the bilateral relations. The process has already borne fruit for the benefit of the Belarusian and Georgian nations. “We represent an example of how two countries in different economic blocs can develop relations for the benefit of their nations without rough spots and conflicts on the basis of respect and recognition of each other’s interests,” said Giorgi Margvelashvili. The Georgia President also noted that relations between the two countries develop successfully not only in trade and economy but politics, too. A group to advance cooperation with Belarus will be established in the Georgian parliament soon. Work is in progress to arrange a visit of the Belarusian prime minister to Georgia.
After the talks the sides signed a number of bilateral documents. Alexander Lukashenko and Georgi Margvelashvili planted a tree on the Alley of Distinguished Guests near the Palace of Independence.