The Forum of Regions of Belarus and Ukraine holds great promise, therefore more events like this should be held, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko on 26 October.
The head of state noted that the first day of the forum went well. “People are happy; they agreed on many things, many of them signed contracts. Therefore, this event has a bright future ahead and you will always be welcome in Belarus,” the president said.
In his words, the next forum will be hosted by Ukraine. “We will be glad to come with a large delegation to the city that you will choose,” the Belarusian leader said.
Alexander Lukashenko gave a warm welcome to Petro Poroshenko in Gomel. “You might feel like it is similar to wonderful Ukrainian cities. No wonder, because the border is a stone’s throw from here. It is home to many Ukrainians, citizens of Ukraine (in particular, in recent times) who moved here because of the conflict,” the Belarusian head of state noted.
According to the president, about 150,000 people resettled from Ukraine to Belarus during that period; some are already going back. “This is not the main thing. The main thing is that this difficult period is over. We needed to help these people, to give them jobs; and we treated them like our own people. Therefore, Gomel is a good, welcoming city for Ukrainians,” he added.
“There is trust between Ukraine and Belarus, there is trust between Lukashenko and Poroshenko. I am absolutely convinced that this trust will lead to security, reliability, friendship and cooperation,” Petro Poroshenko said.
He added that the border between Belarus and Ukraine should be the border of peace, friendship and reliability. “You and I are taking maximum effort to make it so,” Petro Poroshenko said.
The Ukrainian president thanked Alexander Lukashenko for the idea of holding the Forum of Regions. “Today we made sure that our decision to hold the forum was right. Six treaties have already been signed. More agreements will be concluded between our regions, which will help make the life of people in Ukraine and Belarus better,” he said.
Petro Poroshenko also drew attention to the warm welcome of the Ukrainian delegation, Gomel infrastructure, attention and hospitality from the locals. “This contradicts propaganda allegations about tensions between our nations. Our peoples are linked by bonds of friendship and cooperation. So are the presidents,” the Ukrainian leader stressed.
“We are absolutely convinced that the relations are on track towards serious growth,” Petro Poroshenko said. He highlighted the significant increase in trade between the two countries, calling it evidence that the parties do not build protective barriers but rather clear them. “Products of the Belarusian engineering industry, food and construction industries, and also road-building companies from Belarus feel very comfortable in Ukraine. Ukrainian export to Belarus has been growing nicely. It is very important for us to keep these trends in place,” the Ukrainian head of state said.
Human contacts are very important, Petro Poroshenko said. He cited the Days of Ukrainian Culture in Belarus. “We need to supervise this practice and continue it. Because relations between people are a guarantee of good relations between the countries,” the president said.
Petro Poroshenko noted that it was important that Ukraine and Belarus coordinate action, including on the external arena, in matters of security.