Belarus is prepared for the all-round cooperation with Kaliningrad Oblast, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Governor of Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast Anton Alikhanov on 13 November.
“We are prepared for the cooperation in all areas of interest for Kaliningrad Oblast. You can be sure of it,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed.
The President said that Belarus views this region of Russia as a very promising and close trade and economic partner. “Despite the absolute figures are rather modest, there is a big potential. We have projects and programs of cooperation,” the head of state remarked.
In particular, there are big prospects for advancing industrial cooperation, interaction on agriculture, construction, and transport. “Our country is traditionally strong in the development of such sectors. We can also cooperate in the manufacturing sector, car industry and machine-tool building. There are big prospects for cooperation in the construction of agricultural facilities and construction in general. Belarus used to be a beacon and a good example in the construction industry,” the President said.
Alexander Lukashenko remarked that Kaliningrad Oblast is now gearing up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. “If you need help, we are here. We can not only provide construction services, like we did in Sochi, we can also offer a helping hand in the transport industry. We can supply you with steelwork, cement, and other construction materials,” he said.
There are also good prospects for cooperation in the development of the digital economy and IT. “This industry is increasingly vibrant. We have created a strong IT park. World IT companies are registered there. We have gained experience. Therefore, you are welcome to use anything you need,” the head of state said.
Belarus is also ready to cooperate with Kaliningrad Oblast in the R&D sector. “Your scientists can visit Belarus and work here, or we can set up strong affiliated companies, schools, institutes. We can do it,” the President is convinced.
There is a big potential for humanitarian cooperation, the Belarusian leader remarked. “Education is the main thing. Russia has big achievements in this field. Our education minister visited Russia. They agreed on many things. We will also support these avenues of cooperation,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
“I hope we will continue developing our relations in this context because we are not strangers, we have a common homeland. We do not divide Russia and Belarus by borders. We are united in a common cause. And we call it the UnionState,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President paid special attention to certain issues of concern for Belarus and Kaliningrad Oblast in particular and Russia in general. “The things that happen on the borders with Belarus reflect the situation on the border with Kaliningrad Oblast. We are facing the enhancement of the NATO. In economy and trade everyone pursues their own interests. I cannot say that they like you or us, Russia and Belarus, very much. Therefore, in spite of all the discussions of these issues, the attempts to make us pro-Western and so on, we realize that this is rhetoric. Concrete facts show that Belarusians and Russians should not count on anyone. We should protect our own interests and the interests of our people,” the head of state stressed.
“You can always count on Belarus. We will always support you in a difficult moment,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “You should know that Belarusians will always offer a helping hand to you because we are close people. I want you to understand the ideology of our relations this way.”
According to the President, Belarus and Kaliningrad Oblast have maintained close relations since Soviet times. “Belarus has been a friend of Kaliningrad Oblast since Soviet times. We are very close, many Belarusian people worked and stayed there. In the mid-1990s I said that we will take care of Kaliningrad Oblast. Belarusians have always been taking care of it and will be doing so in the future.”
The head of state expressed hope that after the first official visit to Minsk Anton Alikhanov will have good impressions of Belarus. This visit is expected to give an impetus for the development of bilateral relations.