Aleksandr Lukashenko makes official visit to Venezuela
Presidents of Belarus and Venezuela Aleksandr Lukashenko and Hugo Chávez stated at the meeting in Caracas that they see wide opportunities for boosting bilateral ties.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez talked to journalists ahead of the arrival of his Belarusian counterpart, thanked the Belarusian people for their help and praised the quality of Belarusian products.
The President of Belarus was met by the Venezuelan military orchestra that sang the national anthem of Belarus in Belarusian.
Greeting the Belarusian President, Venezuelan head of state Hugo Chávez, said a few words about the Belarusian-Venezuelan cooperation. “We have built not just a strategic union, but a brotherhood,” he noted. Addressing Aleksandr Lukashenko, he took note of his visit to Cuba and Belarus’ intention to expand relations with the countries of Latin America.
Hugo Chávez thanked Aleksandr Lukashenko for the visit and expressed warm words to “the hardworking, modest, jolly and heroic” people of Belarus. He stressed that the two Presidents are to take stock of a great number of projects which are already underway in the areas of oil and gas production, petrochemistry, housing construction, industry, agriculture, energy.
Aleksandr Lukashenko, in turn, assured his Venezuelan counterpart that all the agreements which had been reached between Belarus and Venezuela would be implemented ahead of schedule.
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus had come to Venezuela to help the country evolve. “We are a European country. We have come here not as colonizers. We have come to build the country and train Venezuelans,” the Belarusian leader said. “The decision to diversify the economy will be seen as a deed in the future,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said addressing Hugo Chávez.
Hugo Chávez also stated about his talk with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin who was in Israel on a visit then. The Venezuelan leader praised the fact that Vladimir Putin paid his first foreign visit as the Russian President to Belarus.
The heads of state discussed Belarus-Venezuela cooperation at the one-to-one meeting. Special attention was drawn to promising avenues of interaction. After the one-to-one meeting, the Belarusian and Venezuelan presidents joined their delegations and other attendees.
The heads of state made a brief review of the meeting. Hugo Chávez expressed satisfaction with the visit of the Belarusian delegation and voiced confidence that all the projects run by Belarus will be completed.
The parties took part in four teleconferences with different parts of Venezuela where joint projects are being implemented. The first one was the plant producing MAZ vehicles in Barinas. The company was opened a month ago. It is set to make 5,000 vehicles per year. So far the company has assembled 500 vehicles, by the end of the year the figure will make up 1,000. The plant will reach its designed capacity in about five years. According to Hugo Chávez, the enterprise will be able to satisfy the domestic demand and sell these products to other countries of the region. New companies will be needed to provide maintenance services. This, in turn, will create thousands of jobs.
Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that a bus production line can be installed at the plant. “I have heard a lot about the region’s need for such vehicles. The company has great prospects. I guarantee that these buses will be sold – in Nicaragua, and in Brazil and in other countries. Therefore, we need to install the bus production line nearby. They will also be in demand. Think about that!” the Belarusian head of state said addressing the Venezuelan President.
Belarus ’ President added that it is not that difficult to construct the plant, it is much more difficult to teach people to work at such facilities. “Once I promised you that and we will do it: your people will be trained to work at such high-tech enterprises,” the Belarusian head of state said.
The next teleconference connected Caracas and Maracay, where Belarusian specialists partake in housing construction projects. Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled the day in 2010 when the two heads of state visited the construction site and the laid the first stone. In two years the housing complex was completed. According to First Deputy Premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko, the construction of 4,500 apartments is in progress. By the year-end, 30 houses will be commissioned. The President of Venezuela invited Belarusian specialists to build houses in other regions of the country.
Another teleconference was the plant to produce ceramics blocks in the state of Miranda.
Hugo Chávez said that he id eager to continue working with Belarusian specialists, set up new enterprises, etc.
After the bilateral talks, Belarus and Venezuela signed over 20 documents on building up cooperation.
The sides confirmed eagerness to boost cooperation in construction, industry, agriculture, energy, etc.
The Belarusian head of state noted that the bilateral cooperation is gaining momentum and has turned into a strategic partnership. “Political understanding and trust on the highest level are a solid foundation to ramp up this cooperation,” the Belarusian leader is convinced.
The President of Belarus pointed to successful projects in oil recovery, seismic exploration, seismic machinery, gas services provision, architecture and construction, manufacturing industry, agriculture and many more. He emphasized that over the five years the bilateral trade soared more than 200 times – from $6 million in 2006 to nearly $1.5 billion in 2010 and 2011. “We are strongly determined to keep it up and I am sure we will achieve even more,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that each Belarusian knows about Venezuela and Venezuelans. “You lent your shoulder in the most difficult times,” he said. Aleksandr Lukashenko handed over a portrait of Bolivar to Hugo Chávez. The portrait was made by a Belarusian artist who asked to give it to the Venezuelan President with the wishes of tenacity, courage and forward movement.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that before the trip to Venezuela he had learnt what Venezuelans think about the bilateral cooperation. “The overwhelming majority of Venezuelans support the things we are doing. However, there are some individuals who doubt our cooperation. I guess, it is natural, a delicate political thing,” the head of state said.
“I would like to say it again: Belarusians came here with brotherly intensions upon the call of your patriotic President. He is my friend, the friend of the Belarusian people. You should know: no matter what someone would say or scheme, our state will do anything my friend Chávez will ask,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“I am sure in a couple of years we will be discussing more ambitious projects to be implemented athwart our foes. No one will be able to stop us. It is my brief answer to those who still doubt the things we are doing,” the Belarusian leader said.
“I will put it straight: there would have been no projects if it is not for you. There would have been no Belarus in Venezuela. I am not exaggerating,” the Belarusian head of state said addressing Hugo Chávez.
“I am not talking about your elections right now. I know you will win. I just want to pay tribute to you and express gratitude from thousands of Belarusians who have an opportunity to work here,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The President of Belarus added that he is paying his third visit to Venezuela and is very much happy for the country’s successes on its way to independence.
After the meeting of the two presidents Hugo Chávez told Venezuelan and international media that the cooperation with Belarus is very important for Venezuela.After the official visit to Venezuela Aleksandr Lukashenko will travel to Ecuador. The agenda of the visit will include trade and economic cooperation, formation of the legal framework, building up contacts between the two states.