Belarus is opening a new page in relations with Germany. The development of the Belarusian-German relations was discussed at the meeting between Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Vice Chancellor, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Sigmar Gabriel on 17 November.
The negotiations focused on the existing bilateral contacts. When building them, the sides do not forget some tragic events in history. “Time goes on. Many things are changing. And our relations are also changing in the modern world with the course of time. I strongly hope and I am convinced that we are opening a new page in our relations paving the way towards improvement.”
The head of state thanked the German side for the annual help with the recuperation of Belarusian children from Chernobyl-hit territories.
Besides, the President expressed gratitude for the technological support provided to the Belarusian economy. “Cutting-edge equipment and technologies account for a lion’s share of the import from Germany,” Alexander Lukashenko remarked. “We would like to take this positive process to a higher economic level,” the President stressed and encouraged the German side to pay attention to the industrial park Great Stone which guarantees the most preferential conditions for investors. The project has been implemented using the best global practices of setting up such technology parks.
The Belarusian leader assured: “If we come to an agreement and promise to do something, we will definitely do it.”
The President also asked the German side to pay more attention to the situation in Belarus and to evaluate it in an objective way. “Then we will succeed. From the territory of Belarus you will never get any signal about the violation of the integrity and security of the European continent.”
Besides, he acknowledgedthe contribution of Germany to the regulation of the conflict in Ukraine. “Germany can make a great contribution to the development of modern history if it is to continue its policy aimed at normalizing the situation in Eastern Ukraine,” the head of state noted. “Indeed, there are still many problems after the Normandy Four meeting, but there is no war there, in Ukraine. People would still have been dying there if Germany had not taken a hard line.”
Sigmar Gabriel, in turn, stressed that Belarus and Germany went through different times in mutual relations. “We, Germans, think about the hideous crimes the Nazis committed against Belarus and the people of the country during the Second World War. It is a miracle how friendly and open the people of your country are to Germany today. We would like to thank you for your friendliness and openness which can not be taken for granted,” he said.
According to the minister, there were disagreements in relations in the past and there are disagreements today. “But if we look what the starting point of our relations was, then we can surely be optimistic about the future of our relations. The relations went through the horrifying times. Today, both the states are deeply committed to peace,” Sigmar Gabriel said.
“Belarus is a small country of 10 million, neighboring on the larger countries and always being dependent, to a certain extent, on relations with them. Maybe it is such historical experience that makes the country well-suited for the role of mediator in case of conflicts in other countries. And perhaps this is the reason why Minsk has become such a wonderful venue for the Normandy Four negotiations,” Sigmar Gabriel noted.
He expressed gratitude to Minsk for hosting these talks. “You still host the negotiations within the trilateral format. You are absolutely right when you say that we have succeeded in preventing the war.”
The minister expressed hope that Minsk will continue to play an important role in the process of peace talks.