Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev

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Belarus and Azerbaijan can advance bilateral relations tanks to the strategic character of cooperation, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on 28 August.

Aleksandr Lukashenko repeatedly mentioned the friendly character of relations between the two countries and the two leaders. The Belarusian head of state welcomed his Azerbaijani counterpart at the airport. Ilham Aliyev has arrived in Minsk on a two-day official visit.

The Presidents of Belarus and Azerbaijan held one-on-one talks and negotiations in the extended format to discuss all avenues of bilateral cooperation.

Aleksandr Lukashenko confirmed Belarus' interest in stepping up all-round relations with Azerbaijan. "You have arrived in a very friendly country where you are loved and respected for the great deeds you have accomplished for our country, unconventional deeds sometimes, to support Belarus in time of need. It was related to the independence issue. And the Belarusians know about it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He stressed that Belarus and Azerbaijan do not have closed topics neither for negotiations nor in bilateral relations altogether. "We will always respond to any question that you may ask and Azerbaijan needs it," the Belarusian head of state said. "We will keep taking into account the best interests of the two nations and you will never have claims to us," the Belarusian leader assured the guest.

The two countries are connected by many years of friendship. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, since Heydar Aliyev's times the foundation of bilateral relations has been built. "But what we have done in recent years is, so to speak, a major breakthrough," the Belarusian head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that meetings with the Azerbaijan President have already become a tradition and they allow controlling the implementation of agreements.

Ilham Aliyev, in turn, noted that the tradition allowed achieving excellent results: joint companies operate, mutual trade is on the rise, success has been achieved in various industries.

"We are glad that we could make our contribution to resolving the issues that had been a priority for you. The character and essence of our relations provides for mutual support. If one of us needs it, we should always lend a shoulder," the President of Azerbaijan said. Ilham Aliyev believes that within 20 years of relations between the two countries have seen enough confirmations that Belarus and Azerbaijan are strategic partners.

The two heads of state are eager to analyze what the countries have already done and to outline new projects and initiatives.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that since the previous meeting of the two heads of state a lot has been done to step up bilateral relations. The President of Belarus believes that Ilham Aliyev has done a lot to turn bilateral cooperation into strategic partnership. "We have agreed on projects, concrete cooperation avenues and we will stay committed to their implementation and will control their implementation at the highest level. We stick to dynamic relations, hold regular high-level meetings in Minsk and Baku. We have agreed to continue this way,” the Belarusian leader said. He thanked his Azerbaijani counterpart for the personal attention to the development of the Belarusian-Azerbaijani cooperation.

The President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko took note of the two countries actively developing relations in almost every area. In his words, Belarus and Azerbaijan have no political contradictions. “We have similar viewpoints on the issues of international importance. We successfully cooperate in the international organizations,” the Belarusian leader said. Both the two states keep rapid economic development and enhancement of well-being of the population high on their agendas, he added. “We have no task to cooperate against someone. Our major task is to do everything necessary to provide better life to our people,” the Belarusian head of state said.

When speaking about economic cooperation, The Belarusian President pointed out that in 2011 the Belarus-Azerbaijan bilateral trade was close to $1 billion. In 2012 it has been lagging behind a bit. However, Aleksandr Lukashenko is confident that the sides will be able to catch up.

“Last year Belarus and Azerbaijan achieved impressive foreign trade results. And we have to continue like that. It is important not to lose the intensity of cooperation in this sphere,” the Belarusian head of state believes. Aleksandr Lukashenko said he primarily meant the transition from pure trade to the implementation of major joint projects, promotion of investment, scientific and technical cooperation. The President of Belarus believes that such things greatly bolster relations and advance them to a higher level.

According to the Belarusian leader, the two states have goods prospects to advance cooperation in the energy sector.

“We were able to prove high efficiency of our cooperation in the energy sector,” the Belarusian head of state said. “Belarus is grateful to Azerbaijan for support in ensuring energy security,” the Belarusian President stressed.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarusian companies are ready to joint work and services in oil development. Belarus is also able to supply Azerbaijan with high quality geophysical and drilling equipment.

Another promising cooperation field is promotion of investment.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Azerbaijani companies will get the most favorable terms of making investments and opening a business in Belarus.

At present several Azerbaijani investment projects in the area of logistics, trade, and public catering were being implemented in Belarus.