Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has confirmed the friendly nature of Belarus-Armenia relations at the meeting with Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian on 30 October.
“Despite all kinds of views in the democratic Armenia, Belarus has always been and will be your good and reliable friend. We both work in the common economic space – our Eurasian Union and the CSTO military and political bloc. No matter what some people say or write, we strictly abide by our agreements, by all provisions of these organizations,” the head of state emphasized.
He noted that these days Belarus is playing host to a major international forum – the Munich Security Conference Core Group meeting. “The matter is very important and serious. Your visit to Minsk and participation in the sessions of this group mean that Armenia is not just concerned about this matter. It is a very sensitive issue for the Armenian people,” the Belarusian president said.
Speaking about trade and economic cooperation, the Belarusian head of state called it the backbone of bilateral relations with Armenia. “The trade is on the rise. We have reversed the negative trends. Last year the growth exceeded 30%. It is about $45 million [in bilateral trade]. It is quite a result taking into account that there was no trade several years ago. However, if we look at our capacities, we will understand that the current level of bilateral trade lags far behind its potential,” the president noted.
“We could easily have $150 million in bilateral trade today, and this could take our relations to a higher level. You know our capacities, we know yours. Therefore, any proposals to be put forward by Armenia will be considered within the shortest time possible and corresponding decisions will be made,” the Belarusian leader said.
He added that Armenia is going through another period of difficult democratic changes. “There is no escaping it. Naturally, it is very important for me to get information firsthand from my friend and colleague,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
He thanked his Armenian counterpart for supporting the Belarusian journalists who were sent to Armenia to provide an impartial coverage of the ongoing events there. “We want to know what is going on in Armenia, in our friendly nation. I am really grateful to you for that. You even gave an interview to our journalists. It drew a lot of attention in Belarus and beyond. We got an idea of what was going on in Armenia. It is very important for our people. Therefore, in you we see the person who is objective and ready to maintain relations with Belarus. We will return the favor,” the head of state noted.
During the meeting the presidents discussed various aspects of the bilateral agenda and the international situation. They emphasized the role of Minsk as a stable and predictable platform for resolving various international issues. One of the cases in point is the OSCE Minsk Group that spearheads the OSCE's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
According to Armen Sarkissian, the Belarusian leader, just like Belarus in general, have a great reputation and enjoy respect and trust.
Speaking about promising areas of cooperation, the Armenian president named new technology, including science, information technology, and electronics. Another promising area is food industry, as the two countries can not only cooperate, but also sell joint products on the markets of third countries.
The presidents pointed to long-standing contacts between the two nations and common history. One of its elements is the Komsomol youth movement that marks its 100th anniversary these days. “We are holding large-scale events timed to the 100th anniversary of the Komsomol. You have said it right – it is our history, there is no escaping it,” Alexander Lukashenko said.