The United Kingdom is encouraged to step up investment in Belarus. President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement as he met with Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on 26 September.
“You know what I was thinking about going to this meeting with you? First of all, it is great that a top-ranking official, a member of the government of a highly-developed and advanced country has finally decided to visit Belarus. It is a good sign. Secondly, (and you may not like it) it is a pity that the UK is leaving the European Union. We would have had a reliable partner and friend in the EU, who would be able to tell the truth about Belarus,” the head of state said.
According to Alexander Lukashenko, he expects that the visit of the UK minister will help form an objective opinion about Belarus. “I hope that you will see Belarus and form a certain objective opinion about our country. I want you to see all things which were overlooked by western politicians and public officials for so long,” the Belarusian leader said.
“Let’s determine 3-4 substantial pilot economic projects (because the economy is the foundation of any relations) and implement them,” the head of state said. “Let’s make it simple: the United Kingdom has enough spare money which should be invested in business. We will create the most favorable and preferential conditions for business, and will set up 2-3 joint ventures in Belarus which will work for the benefit of the two countries.”
According to the head of state, Belarus and the United Kingdom can cooperate in the electric transport sector. Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that the United Kingdom has made a very interesting decision to ban the sale and use of diesel and petrol cars from a certain year. “I welcome and salute this decision. We have decided to follow your example. We are looking for the most progressive partners in this area,” the head of state said.
“Let’s try to work together in Belarus,” the President said.
Alexander Lukashenko said that Belarus and the UK can work with mutual benefits in many industries. “If your visit gives an impetus in this field, if it helps us make the first steps, we will be convinced that our meeting was not in vain, that your visit to Belarus was not in vain,” the President added.
Alan Duncan, in turn, remarked that it was a pleasure for him to be the first British minister to visit Belarus. “Unfortunately, it took a lot of time, this year we celebrate the 25thanniversary of diplomatic relations,” he said.
The British minister assured that in spite of the withdrawal from the EU, the UK will stay involved on the ongoing processes in politics and economy, the resolution of issues of security and stability. Referring to the events in Ukraine, he asked the Belarusian President what, in his opinion, can be done to regulate the situation in the region.
The minister also conveyed the best greetings from Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May.