Aleksandr Lukashenko holds talks with Ecuador President Rafael Correa Delgado
Belarus is ready to build mutually beneficial and partnering ties with Ecuador. President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement after negotiations with his Ecuadorian counterpart Rafael Correa Delgado on 31 October.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that this is a landmark visit of the Ecuadorian President to Belarus, because this is the first time an Ecuadorian head of state came to Belarus.
The President of Belarus remarked that 20 years have passed since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Belarus and Ecuador. In his words, a lot has been done over this time, however, “this is just one percent from what the countries can and should do”.
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed to Belarus’ great interest in ramping up cooperation with Latin America, first of all, with the countries that have the closest and most friendly relations with Belarus, like Ecuador and Venezuela. “We hope that we will continue to have great relations; we also rely on you to help us fulfill our potential in Latin America,” the Belarusian leader said.
The Belarusian President said that the two countries have many things in common, which will facilitate Belarus’ advancement in the region.
The Belarusian head of state noted that the two states have similar views on the international agenda and a similar stance at the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement and other organizations. The two countries have the same understanding of what is going on in the world and seek to make the world multi-polar.
Speaking about trade and economic relations, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that they lag behind the true potential of the two countries. “Today we need to identify three to four specific cooperation areas to build on our trade and economic relations,” the Belarusian head of state said. He emphasized that the economies of Belarus and Ecuador are complementary and do not compete with each other. According to the Belarusian leader, this will help intensify trade and economic ties.
“In other words, we are seriously determined to expand and deepen our relations. I think we will succeed in it and will be able to accomplish a lot in the nearest future,” the President of Belarus said.
Rafael Correa Delgado, for his part, agreed that the potential of Belarus-Ecuador cooperation as well as the potential of Belarus-Latin America cooperation have not been fully utilized. “Belarus is an advanced country in technology and science. Unlike many other countries Belarus uses achievements in science, technology, and culture for the benefit of the nation. And you share this knowledge with other peoples,” he said.
According to the President of Ecuador, the economies of the two countries are mutually complementary. “We have a very large potential in the sphere of natural resources and food production. You have a very well-developed industry, science, and technologies. Ecuador is interested in all of that”.
“We can do a great deal for the sake of raising the living standards of our nations. We are convinced that it will be done just like that,” the President of Ecuador added.
“Where I came from people know nearly nothing about Belarus and the role your nation has played in the history of the mankind. The sacrifices made by the Belarusian nation helped defeat fascism. And certainly it must be known in Latin America,” Rafael Correa said.
The Ecuadorian President said that huge efforts are exercised in Belarus to raise living standards of the nation. In his words, according to the latest human development index report of the United Nations Organization Belarus and Ecuador are among leaders as far as growth dynamics is concerned. It undoubtedly indicates progress in various fields, Rafael Correa said.
“Belarus should become closer to Latin America and Latin America should learn more about Belarus,” the President of Ecuador believes.
At the negotiations attended by the delegations of Belarus and Ecuador the two heads of state determined cooperation avenues which have to be developed in the near future.
Belarus and Ecuador successfully collaborate in oil exploration and production. The presidents believe that the fruitful cooperation should be expanded and extended to other fields. For example, the heads of state agreed to promote cooperation in power engineering, construct power grids in Ecuador, establish joint production of machinery and intensify ties in science and the defense sector.
“I am convinced that by joint effort we will be able to open up a brand new stage in the history of our relations. Belarus is ready for the most active actions in this direction, first and foremost in the economic field,” the Belarusian head of state said.
The Belarusian President believes that the potential of the two countries allows dramatically expanding the mutually beneficial cooperation.
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus attaches great importance to closer ties with Latin America, including Ecuador. “This is easy to understand. We share views on most of the points of the international agenda. We understand and share your approaches to addressing social and economic tasks. It is with great interest and joy that we watch the transformations taking place in Ecuador,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Belarus is ready for an open and businesslike dialogue with partners from Ecuador in all the areas of the mutual interest. “Our common task is to lay a solid foundation to materialize promising projects,” the Belarusian head of state said. He expressed confidence that the ongoing visit of the high-profile Ecuadorian delegation to Belarus will give a powerful impetus to mutually beneficial cooperation in the best interests of the two countries.
Belarus and Ecuador are similar in many ways. They have no disagreements, which is a good precondition for a long-lasting cooperation, the President of Belarus believes.
Aleksandr Lukashenko invited his Ecuadorian counterpart and the Ecuadorian delegation to discuss priority cooperation fields and outline projects and ways to implement them.
“We still have a lot to do and we should move forward faster,” the Ecuadorian President said.
The Belarusian head of state stressed that Belarus does not suggest simple trade cooperation to Ecuador. Belarus is ready to share technologies, set up joint ventures together, and train specialists. “Instead of supplying readymade products to you we could manufacture them together, satisfying your needs and selling them to neighboring countries. We are ready to transfer technologies to you and help people in Ecuador master these technologies,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that in no way does Belarus ask Ecuador to prefer Belarusian products or partners over national interests. “We would like to cooperate with you on an equal footing, win in fair competition,” the President of Belarus said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the major part of what Ecuador had been offered has already been implemented in Venezuela and therefore it is possible to see concrete examples, results of cooperation and make an informed decision.
Members of the Ecuadorian delegation made a number of concrete proposals concerning the development of cooperation in various industries. For example, it is possible to expand direct trade contacts to bypass mediator countries. Aleksandr Lukashenko backed the idea and suggested setting up a logistics center in Belarus to work with Russia, Ukraine, Baltic and other EU countries. “We can offer you the best terms,” the Belarusian head of state said.
Belarus and Ecuador could also consider lifting visa requirements for owners of regular passports. Apart from that, contacts between mass media may be bolstered so that the nations of Belarus and Ecuador could learn more about each other. Good prospects were mentioned for cooperation in housing construction, the development of the transport infrastructure in Ecuador.
During the talks the sides agreed to complete formalizing and specifying promising avenues of cooperation without delay. The governments and industry-specific agencies of Belarus and Ecuador will take care of these matters soon.
At the negotiations the two heads of state had sketched out the main avenues for bolstering the bilateral cooperation. The presidents had shared views regarding key directions of political, trade and economic cooperation and had set milestones for the future.
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that it had been simple for him to negotiate with Rafael Correa Delgado.
The heads of state agreed to set up a joint intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation.
An official delegation of Ecuador led by a vice president will visit Belarus several weeks later. During the visit the sides will discuss all the potential opportunities for advancing bilateral cooperation in detail.
Moreover, the presidents agreed that sessions of relevant industry-specific commissions will be held in the two countries alternately every six months.
The heads of state also decided that Belarus and Ecuador will soon open embassies in Quito and Minsk. At present the two countries maintain diplomatic contacts through the diplomats based in Caracas and Moscow.
“This will open up wider opportunities for us,” Rafael Correa Delgado believes.
At the end of the talks Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus believes that bolstering relations with Ecuador in all spheres is important and is ready to take all the necessary steps at the national level to advance our cooperation as soon as possible.
“In this complicated and stormy world, which is shaken by financial and economic crises, external threats and political maneuvering it is important to have friendly countries nearby for aid in time of need,” the President of Belarus underlined.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Belarus-Ecuador relations rely on mutual respect and understanding, sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs. “Rafael Correa said that our relations are not burdened by any problems. Our relations start with a clean slate,” the Belarusian head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the first session of the joint commission for scientific and technical cooperation will take place in Minsk as early as 1 November for the sides to determine promising avenues of work in this important area.
“With attention and feelings of affection we monitor the changes going on in Ecuador, the rise of respect for the country in Latin America and the entire international scene,” the Belarusian leader said. “Belarus thinks highly of the independent policy and the principled stance of Ecuador in the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement, and other international organizations. Ecuador vigorously and resolutely advocates the establishment of a multi-polar world as well as mutually beneficial and equal cooperation with all nations,” he added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko assured that all the agreements made in Quito and those made in Minsk on 31 October will be honored. “We will do everything so that you wouldn’t regret coming to Belarus. We would like you to know that far away from you there are people, who know about Ecuador. We would like your people to be pleased with our cooperation. You are always welcome to visit the Belarusian land,” the Belarusian leader stressed. Aleksandr Lukashenko was confident there are great prospects for Belarusian-Ecuadorian relations and that cooperation will be fruitful and mutually beneficial.
“We have planned to determine three or four concrete areas of our cooperation. However, we have outlined more than 15 areas,” the President of Belarus said.
Rafael Correa Delgado said that Ecuador is determined to make the most of opportunities and potential of cooperation with Belarus.
“Your achievements in science, technologies and education are of great interest to Ecuador. We will not miss the opportunity to take advantage or your capacities. We have great cooperation prospects,” he said.
Rafael Correa noted that his visit to Belarus was very productive. “During our today’s talks we have outlined four to five promising cooperation fields to focus on. There are another 15 cooperation areas that we are going to explore,” the Ecuadorian head of state said. In his words, the bilateral cooperation is already bearing fruit. One of the examples is partnership between Belorusneft and the Ecuadorian state-run oil company Petroamazonas.
“One of the most promising cooperation areas is the supply of Belarusian tractors to Ecuador and establishment of a factory to manufacture tractors using Belarusian technologies and a factory to produce medicines. Cooperation in power engineering looks promising too. In these sectors our cooperation definitely goes beyond mere trade. We are about to make the next step to proceed to technology transfer and organization of joint production. Cooperation with Belarus gives us hope that Ecuador will be able make products with a high added value. This is part of our revolution in technological and manufacturing dimension,” Rafael Correa noted.
In his words, Ecuador seeks to start producing high-tech goods. “We are rich in natural resources. We lack human resources and technologies,” the Ecuadorian President said.
The heads of state agreed to take steps to formalize relations and to work out an action plan of bilateral cooperation in the near future.