Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon
Since Tajikistan became an independent country, it has turned into a reliable partner of Belarus in the strategically important region of Central Asia, President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon in Minsk on 24 May.
At the session in the narrow format Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Emomali Rahmon is always a welcome guest in Belarus and a personal friend of the Belarusian leader. “I am very glad that during many years of friendship we were always loyal to our traditions, openly discussed issues which concern our states and neighbors,” the Belarusian leader said.
“I know that Tajik people are kind, hard-working and courageous. They are always ready to protect every inch of their land just like the Belarusian people. Therefore, our nations have much in common. We were part of one country for many years and I think that we should not just restore the economic relations we used to have, but we should surpass that level of cooperation notwithstanding some decline in trade last year,” the Belarusian President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the visit of the Tajikistan President will help enhance bilateral contacts in a number of areas and will help reach a decent level of cooperation in trade and economy. The Belarusian President emphasized that the two countries have no problems regarding their political, diplomatic and military cooperation. The both countries are members of the CSTO and the CIS and have no disagreements on the international agenda.
“In other words, they are two friendly nations, states; so the two Presidents have no other option but to keep acting the same way,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko assured his Tajikistan counterpart that Belarus will do its best to make the ongoing visit productive.
Emomali Rahmon, for his part, remarked that the visit to Minsk is a great opportunity to discuss Belarus-Tajikistan cooperation prospects in multiple fields. “There are many things we should discuss in order to give a powerful impetus to the bilateral relations,” he said. The Tajikistan President expressed confidence that the two countries have considerable reserves and opportunities to deepen trade and economic cooperation. He suggested discussing the situation in the region, in particular, the withdrawal of the coalition forces from Afghanistan this year.
Emomali Rahmon thanked Belarus for its great help in training Tajikistani specialists, including the military and border guards. “Belarus has always supported Tajikistan in difficult situations, both within the framework of the CSTO and on the bilateral level. In particular, Belarus provided assistance to Tajikistan in strengthening Tajikistan-Afghanistan border,” the President of Tajikistan said.
At the extended negotiations the sides discussed the entire range of Belarus-Tajikistan relations, shared opinions regarding urgent international and regional issues of mutual interest.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that these days economy is the locomotive of integration. In this connection, the Belarusian head of state voiced his concern over the decline in the bilateral trade in the past two years. The sides agreed that the intergovernmental commission should do its utmost to restore and even surpass the former level of trade. According to the Belarusian leader, the countries should ensure efficient implementation of the interstate economic cooperation program which is designed to run until 2020.
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that Belarus can supply products to Tajikistan using leasing schemes and subsidized loans, including loans provided by Tajikistani banks. “I think that such forms of cooperation will be of interest to your farmers,” the Belarusian head of state said.
The Belarusian President said that the promotion of the agricultural industry and technological upgrade are top on the agenda in Tajikistan. Therefore, one of Tajikistan’s objectives is purchasing new machines and setting up maintenance centers. Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus is ready to satisfy Tajikistan’s demand for machines in full and provide a comprehensive maintenances service for these machines. The Belarusian leader suggested establishing a network of machine-and-tractor stations and joint ventures to assemble agricultural machines.
Apart from that, the Belarusian side is ready to sign a license agreement on the use of technologies, know-how and technical documents, and to grant the right to use “Belarus” trademark. Additionally, Belarus is ready to train Tajikistani specialists who will work at the joint ventures and to send Belarusian specialists to Tajikistan to share expertise and knowledge.
The President of Belarus believes that production of attachments and trailers in Tajikistan is a promising cooperation avenue. On its part, Belarus would like to import high-quality cotton and yarn directly from Tajikistan and is ready to consider supplies of farm produce and aluminum.
According to the Belarusian leader, the interests of regions in establishing direct contacts will greatly facilitate the bilateral cooperation. Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the signing of new documents will make the bilateral contacts more systemic.
The Belarusian head of state pointed out the need to establish ties between economic operators and to make the most of the potential of chambers of commerce and industry and other business organizations.
Aleksandr Lukashenko deems it necessary to promote cooperation in the humanitarian field, education and culture. The Belarusian President suggested resuming the tradition of arranging the Days of Culture and said that Belarus is ready to hold the Days of Culture in Tajikistan in 2015.
“We successfully cooperate within the framework of international organizations, like the CIS and the CSTO and we are interested in deepening cooperation in various fields, including politics, trade, economy, defense industry, and humanitarian field,” the Belarusian leader said.
The Belarusian President expressed confidence that the ongoing visit of his Tajikistani counterpart to Belarus will give a boost to the bilateral cooperation and flesh it out.
Emomali Rahmon, in turn, emphasized that Tajikistan prioritizes strengthening of ties with Belarus.
The Tajikistan President remarked that he views the ongoing visit to Belarus as part of regular political contacts between the two countries on the high and top levels. In his view, the negotiations in Minsk are important, because they will set the tone for the further cooperation between the two states.
“I have no doubts that the results of the talks will also contribute to advancing the partnership to a brand-new level. There are all the necessary preconditions for that, including the political will of the leaders of the two countries,” Emomali Rahmon stressed.
He pointed to the diversity of the bilateral contacts that cover all the key areas of cooperation, including politics, economy, culture, humanitarian field, defense industry and others. “Relations with a friendly nation of Belarus have a special place in the foreign policy of Tajikistan. We set a high priority to the promotion of closer ties with Belarus and making these ties long-lasting and stable,” the Tajikistan President noted.
He also praised Belarus’ efforts to organize the IIHF World Championship which has become a wonderful sports festival.
After the negotiations the sides signed a package of documents to expand cooperation in the manufacturing sector, social and humanitarian fields, at the regional level. The document will determine parameters of cooperation in numerous fields.
Cooperation agreements were signed by the national Olympic committees of Belarus and Tajikistan; the Grodno State Agricultural University and the Shirinsho Shotemur Tajik Agrarian University; the Architecture and Construction Ministry of Belarus and the Committee on Architecture and Construction under the Tajikistan Government; the National Television and Radio Company of Belarus and the Committee on Television and Radio under the Tajikistan Government.
The foreign ministries of the two countries adopted an action plan to promote cooperation.
A memorandum of cooperation was signed by Bellegprom Concern and the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Tajikistan.
Cooperation agreements in trade, economy, science, technology, and culture were signed by the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee and Sughd Oblast of Tajikistan, as well as by Uzda District of Belarus and Yovon District of Tajikistan. A cooperation agreement was also concluded by Mogilev and Khujand.
The heads of state signed a joint statement where they expressed confidence that the implementation of the arrangements and the bilateral documents signed during the visit will contribute to the promotion of friendly relations on the basis of equal and mutually beneficial partnership. The parties noted that the documents will significantly improve the legal framework of the bilateral cooperation, which is important as the legal framework is a foundation for all-round cooperation and efficient use of the potential of the two countries.
After the negotiations Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that they were very productive. The President discussed a wide range of issues regarding the development of Belarus-Tajikistan relations, cooperation in the UN, CIS, CSTO and SCO. The sides admitted that they have similar views on all the issues.
According to the Belarusian leader, trade and economy are the focus on the bilateral cooperation.
The presidents agreed to pay more attention to the agricultural sector. Belarus is ready to make a significant contribution to the upgrade of agricultural machinery of Tajikistan and to set up maintenance centers for Belarusian machines. The partners also agreed to make the most of interregional ties and the potential of SMEs and business associations of the two countries.
The governments of Belarus and Tajikistan were given concrete instructions designed to expand cooperation in trade, economy, science, technology and humanitarian field. Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed confidence that the implementation of the arrangements will help advance the bilateral relations to brand new level and improve the well-being of the peoples.
The presidents discussed in detail international and regional security, modern challenges and threats and ways to respond to them, including through the cooperation in the CSTO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that it is very important for Belarus to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation in order to combat terrorism, drug trafficking, cross-border organized crime, illegal trade in arms and all forms of extremism.
The Belarusian head of state said that he instructed the government to provide support to Tajikistan all other things being equal. “If our partners get interested in our cooperation proposals, we will implement these projects within two years at the most, even the most complicated ones. There are no irresolvable issues. We do not wangle, we do not try to make things complicated; if we have agreed on something, we will certainly materialize it. You can be rest assured that we will do our part,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“The heritage the Soviet Union left in Tajikistan is probably not so big. Maybe, Tajikistan lacks qualified personnel. We are ready to lend our hand and train Tajikistani specialists (military and civil) in Belarus and even set up training centers in Tajikistan. There are no forbidden topics in our relations. We are members of the military and political organization. If we have an opportunity to help you in the field of defense, military cooperation and border issues, we will certainly do it like no other country would and we know how to do it, in particular, when it comes to border issues. You are our friend and we are ready to do our best for you,” the Belarusian President stressed.
Emomali Rahmon said that the talks were conducted in a business-like and trustful atmosphere. “I am convinced that today’s official meetings will open up new opportunities for ramping up cooperation between our countries and peoples,” he emphasized.
Emomali Rahmon invited the Belarusian head of state to pay an official visit to Tajikistan. In his words, the continuation of the fruitful dialogue in Dushanbe will give an additional impetus to the bilateral cooperation.
In the evening Emomali Rahmon attended an official dinner on behalf of the President of Belarus.