There is special friendship between Belarusian and Georgian people and good feelings since Soviet times, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said during the talks with Georgia President Giorgi Margvelashvili in Tbilisi on 22 March.
“Indeed, I come to Georgia as if it is my home. This is my second visit. But I feel that there are close people in Georgia,” the President said.
Alexander Lukashenko remarked that he has visited many countries as President. “Frankly speaking, when you go to certain countries you know that hard work will be ahead of you there. When I go to Georgia I know that I will have to work, but I am always looking forward to the visit because very good, kind and honest people live here,” he said.
The Belarusian head of state agreed with the Georgian leader who said that the cooperation between the two countries is developing in the best interests of people. This pertains to the delivery and production of foodstuffs and complex equipment. “I think that we will find other options to promote the commodity exchange between our countries during this two-day visit,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
“There are no closed topics in Belarus’ cooperation with Georgia. We are always ready to meet Georgians halfway if they are interested,” the Belarusian leader emphasized. He also expressed confidence that the countries will manage to exceed the level of $200 in bilateral trade this year.
Giorgi Margvelashvili also spoke in favor of developing Belarus-Georgia relations. “We have an opportunity to meet here are work for the benefit of our people. During this visit we will sign an agreement which will determine Belarus-Georgia relations for many decades to come. Thank you for your friendship and good attitude,” the Georgia President said.
He emphasized that the relations between the two countries can be an example for others.
During the extended negotiations the Belarusian President said that in the last few years Belarus and Georgia have managed to rebuild their bilateral relations anew.
Alexander Lukashenko said: “In the last two or three years we have indeed done a lot in order not to simply intensify our relations but rebuild them anew and lay the foundation you’ve mentioned. We’ve set out to reach an ambitious goal — a trade turnover of $200 million despite all the problems that exist today. We are not simply resolute to achieve the goal. We can achieve it by the end of the year. It means we are on the right track.”
Alexander Lukashenko also thanked the leadership of Georgia for support at international platforms, including the OSCE, the UN, and the Eastern Partnership Initiative. “Georgia has never shunned Belarus in most difficult times. Both Mikheil Saakashvili and the current government have always supported the Belarusian nation. We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to the brotherly nation of Georgia for the colossal solidarity you have always demonstrated towards Belarus,” stressed the head of state.
Speaking about advancing trade and economic cooperation, Alexander Lukashenko noted that the countries go beyond simple trade. While trade is important, the two countries have started setting up research centers for agriculture and joint manufacturing enterprises. “There are no cooperation topics we avoid,” said the President.
Alexander Lukashenko went on saying that well-trained workforce is needed for the effective development of this or that direction. The two countries have good potential for cooperation in this regard. “If we are to set up joint ventures to make tractors, we will help you train the relevant specialists. If we decide to explore animal husbandry, we will help with scientists and specialists. If we decide to venture into transplantology together, here is the head of our internationally recognized center [for organ and tissue transplantation Oleg Rummo],” stated the President.
After the talks Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus will always be open for cooperation with Georgia.
“I want to highlight that there are no taboo topics between Belarus and Georgia. Our dialogue at all levels is sincere and respectful. We are responsible people. If we agree on something, we will do it no matter what. If we can do something for you, tell us and we will get involved. We will help implemented the much-needed projects here, in Georgia,” the Belarusian leader underlined.
“You should remember that the 2,000 kilometers between Minsk and Tbilisi are nothing. We remember that you are our brother. It may be said that we have had one home. You should remember that you have a solid base in the center of Europe where you can not only talk with us but also trade. We are ready for this cooperation. I think you believe me because we have never let you down. Belarus will always be open for cooperation with Georgia. I will support any joint project aimed at further strengthening of our relations,” he added.
As a person and the head of state, Alexander Lukashenko wants Georgia to lead a good peaceful life. “The people of Georgia deserve respect and a peaceful life on this planet. This is an ancient nation that has given a lot of good things to the civilization. We appreciate this,” the President remarked.
The head of state noted that since his previous visit in 2015, the countries have made great advances in cooperation. He also stressed the sincere atmosphere of the current meetings in Tbilisi, during which the parties considered a wide range of issues. But the focus was traditionally on trade and economic cooperation. “Last year, the trade between our countries reached around $112 million. Of course, the figure is relatively small. But if you consider the fact that once it was zero, then the current level would look good. I am sure that soon we will hit the coveted $200 million milestone. All conditions are in place for that,” the Belarusian leader said.
The head of state noted that Belarus and Georgia have already started cooperating in industry. Belarus can offer a wide range of sophisticated technical products: from passenger buses and electro-buses to special fire equipment.
The other day the first joint venture to assemble Belarusian elevators and other lifting mechanisms came on stream in Tbilisi. Projects to assemble tractors, to promote cooperation in the field of pharmaceutics, light and food industries are in the pipeline. Belarus is also ready to assist Georgia in the development of agriculture and strengthening of food security. Alexander Lukashenko urged to promote jointly-made products to the markets of third countries.
According to Alexander Lukashenko, Belarusian-Georgian friendly relations are not limited to economic cooperation. He suggested sharing best practices in disaster prevention and response, training of relevant personnel. The two countries also cooperate in healthcare. This year Georgia is launching liver transplant program with the participation of Belarusian specialists.
Active cultural contacts contribute to better understanding between the peoples of the two countries, Alexander Lukashenko added.
The framework cooperation agreement between Belarus and Georgia was signed following the talks of the two leaders in Tbilisi. The document was signed by presidents Alexander Lukashenko and Giorgi Margvelashvili.
The document stipulates the intention of Belarus and Georgia to promote cooperation at all levels and in all areas of mutual interest.
The countries agreed on the further development of the political dialogue, the legal framework of bilateral cooperation, cooperation within international organizations, including on key issues of global and regional security.
Belarus and Georgia will continue to work together within the framework of the existing mechanisms for bilateral economic cooperation on a reciprocal basis to enhance intersectoral interaction, strengthen economic ties and bolster direct ties between business entities.
Belarus and Georgia intend to promote contacts at the level of small and medium enterprises and joint projects, to ensure the maximum effective use of transit potential of the parties through implementation of joint projects in the field of transport and logistics, and contribute to the development of international transit corridors.
In addition, Belarus and Georgia will enhance interregional cooperation and interaction in tourism.
The two countries agreed to step up cooperation in education, culture, art, information, youth policy, and support for joint scientific projects.
The two heads of state signed another ten documents to advance cooperation in certain fields.
After the official negotiations Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Georgia President Giorgi Margvelashvili visited the Tbilisi cognac distillery.
The Belarusian head of state was informed in detail about the history of the company, about various peculiarities of cognac production and consumption.
Alexander Lukashenko and Giorgi Margvelashvili also did some blending (spirits of different maturity were mixed to produce ready-made beverage) and sealed a barrel in anticipation of the 25thanniversary of Belarus-Georgia relations.