Belarus and Serbia will take great pains to strengthen economic cooperation, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Serbia President Aleksandar Vucic on 3 December.
“It does not matter that our trade has somewhat shrunk. We will come to grips why the governments are not trying hard enough. The results of yesterday’s and today’s events suggest that our ministers have responded to the trade decline and signed major contracts, deals in order to surpass the trade we had in the heyday. We will fight for our relations. I think we will be able to take our relations, including trade, to a higher level,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned yesterday’s meeting with his Serbian counterpart. The heads of state met at an informal dinner, however, nearly the entire conversation was dominated by the political agenda, namely the situation around Belarus and Serbia.
The Serbian President noted that the two countries cultivate frank and friendly political contacts. Speaking about economic cooperation, the Serbian leader noted that Belarus and Serbia are well positioned to hit the $500 million target in bilateral trade (in 2018 bilateral trade amounted to $148 million). “I will never forget your visit in 1999. You came to show how much you love Serbian people and the country,” he added.
The Belarusian President responded that one has to stand back to get the bigger picture. “Bank then, nobody thought that we were doing something outstanding. We were on our way to our brothers, friends. Some day I will provide the details and reveal what proceeded it and what followed. We just could not leave our friends in the lurch. Indeed, we are not an empire, but we and you are of the same breed. Twenty years have passed and we are meeting here with you. We have been through a lot. The time is just as difficult today,” the President said.
He explained that major geopolitical players create tensions in the world to survive the competition. “One of the empires declared a trade war; others are fighting a proxy war in Syria. This affects you, because hundreds of thousands of refugees flocked to Serbia. Some started talking about a new global economic crisis. We don’t need it. Unfortunately, we are involved in it, but the blame is not on us. We did not give a single reason or even half a reason for that,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that Serbia will never live in misery no matter what calamities it will face. The President called Serbia a gem of the Balkans. “It is a beautiful country, wonderful land that can feed much more people than live in Serbia now. It has brilliant, heroic and patriotic people. Therefore, Serbia will always prosper. Passing through Belgrade today, I compared today’s city with what I saw during my previous visit. I see that Serbia and its capital city are not just coming alive, they are gaining back their strength. We are ready to help as much as we can,” the President concluded.