Belarus and Venezuela are going to build up cooperation in the coming years. This is the result of the official negotiations between Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro which took place at the Palace of Independence on 5 October.
At the beginning of the one-on-one meeting Alexander Lukashenko said that he is happy to welcome the Venezuelan leader in Belarus. “We have always been very grateful and respectful of you, your people and your state,” the President said.
It was mentioned that Nicolas Maduro arrived in Belarus with a big delegation. He has already visited other states in spite of a complicated situation in the country. According to Alexander Lukashenko, it shows that the necessary order is restored in the country.
“Our meeting is important because we need to make a new resolute step in the development of our relations,” the head of state stressed.
The Venezuelan President, in turn, said that the members of his delegation were happy to visit Belarus because they are with true friends here. “We have gone through the time of brutal battles, but because of them we have been strengthened on all fronts. Now we are in the process of restoration, and this is a very complicated period as well. We are making the first steps in the economic dimension. We have called it the program of Bolivarian development, this is the so-called post-oil economy. We must develop the legacy of our country and determine concrete priorities of our joint activities, the activities of Belarus and Venezuela, as part of this work,” Nicolas Maduro said.
In a friendly and trustful atmosphere the presidents discussed topical issues on the bilateral agenda, expressed readiness to do their utmost to step up cooperation. The heads of state agreed that the two countries do not have to start developing their bilateral relations from scratch because Belarus and Venezuela have already created a solid foundation of bilateral relations.
During the extended negotiations with the members of the delegations Alexander Lukashenko noted that Venezuela is a strategic and very important partner of Belarus in Latin America. Within a comparatively short period of time the two countries have created a reliable political and economic basis for bilateral interaction. “Due to the complicated situation in the world the pace of implementation of joint projects has slowed down in the last few years. We are not satisfied with it. Neither Belarusians nor Venezuelans are satisfied with it. The situation needs to be fixed,” the President stressed.
Belarus and Venezuela have established long-term trade, economic, and manufacturing cooperation ties. A number of joint ventures have been set up to make automobiles, tractors, extract oil, and develop gas infrastructure. “A Belarusian technology has been used to start making road construction machines in Venezuela. Latin America’s largest brick factory has been built. Together we have built hundreds of thousands of square meters of housing for low-income families in Venezuela. It is a good foundation for our future relations. We hit the mark when we started it in the past,” said the head of state. “We are ready to continue this road in Venezuela together with you.”
Alexander Lukashenko said that Venezuela is going through difficult times at present. However, in his words, Belarus had worse. The country also had a shortage of food products after the Soviet Union collapsed. “We set forth a goal to provide our people with food products and even launch food exports within 8-10 years. We did it. Venezuela, with its cast-iron will and discipline, will need five years to solve this matter,” the Belarusian leader said.
According to the President, Venezuela once offered a helping hand to Belarus in the energy sector. “We remember this well. Let us think today how we can solve the problems Venezuela is currently facing,” he said.
The head of state said that t is essential to step up the work of joint intergovernmental commissions. “The President and I have agreed that a Belarusian-Venezuelan commission will convene in Minsk in November. I will get involved in the resolution of these problems. In November we will sketch out a concrete action plan to resolve the problems in our relations. I am ready to fly to Venezuela. I and the president will once again discuss this plan and approve it,” the Belarusian leader said. He underlined that the development of this plan should in no way stop work in other areas.
Alexander Lukashenko also spoke about the attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of countries. “It has even come to explicit threats military interference in this sovereign country. I want to reiterate that we are totally against all kinds of aggression, chaos and disarray, we are against the interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela or any other state,” the President said.
Belarus is in favor of using peaceful means for the resolution of conflicts. “No one can impose all kinds of color revolutions on countries, this time is going away. We can see that attempts to impose certain priorities on Venezuela and to make it carry out a color revolution were futile. Venezuelan people will decide what to do in their own country because the country’s interests, peace and accord are above all things for people regardless of their political stance,” the head of state said. He added that the sanctions of certain geopolitical forces against Venezuela are senseless and harmful, including for those who introduce them.
“Venezuelan people can always count on the support of friendly Belarus. Our course is the same: we will do our best to help you build a normal life,” the head of state stressed.
Nicolas Maduro stated that his country has recently been through quite a difficult period of time. He said that today Venezuela is ready for recovery and economic growth. “Today is the key moment for us to launch our projects and efforts aimed at concrete spheres, including the politics and diplomacy, and also economy, manufacturing, and petroleum industry,” the President of Venezuela said.
The sides shared opinions on the key areas of political and economic cooperation, outlines future prospects. They have also discussed a number of promising joint projects that will secure Belarus’ participation in the development of the Venezuelan economy, including its construction, agriculture, mechanical engineering, oil and gas industry.
After the talks the two leaders met with mass media representatives. They stated that the export-import ties of Belarus and Venezuela are lagging behind the previous level. But the potential of the two countries gives the two countries an opportunity to bolster their relations, including in the economy and trade. “You know my character and the character of Nicolas [Maduro]. We will do it. The first results will be seen within two years, within five years we will try to solve existing problems,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President deemed it necessary to develop cooperation in education, science and technology. “We can build plants, promote other sectors of the economy, but if there are no qualified specialists who will work at these facilities, there will be no victory. Therefore, while developing the real production sector in Venezuela, we should step up efforts to train specialists,” the Belarusian leader said.
The head of state also said that Belarus appreciates Venezuela’s firm position on the international arena. The country advocates for building a multi-polar world, mutually beneficial and equal cooperation with all states. This is in tune with the position of Belarus.
In his statement for mass media Nicolas Maduro once again thanked Belarus for cooperation and solidarity as Venezuela counteracts the outside pressure. He said that with the implementation of a new plan to restore growth and development of the real economic sector, Venezuela hopes for Belarus' help and support. “To implement this, we rely on Belarus and invite it for cooperation. We know very well the working capacity, iron will and discipline the Belarusians have,” the Venezuelan leader noted.
The sides agreed that this visit will help deepen all-round partnership.