Meeting with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei

    Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has demanded to diversify exports and find new sales markets for Belarusian products. Aleksandr Lukashenko made this statement as he met with Belarus’ Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei on 12 December.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko empathized that things are not bad when it comes to foreign policy priorities and interests. “We do not have any ambitions on the international arena; we do not claim to be a global power; we do not interfere with other countries’ problems and domestic matters. We need to deal with our own issues first. We do not want to create any problems for our neighbors and any other state in the world. We are not able to do it in the first place. We cannot remember a single incident when any of our neighbors complained that we intervened with their domestic affairs,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    Speaking about the economic situation, the President noted that a number of issues had already been discussed. “Naturally, some chronic problems remain, including those related to exports. We have an open economy and sell most of our output abroad. This fact underpins our foreign economic strategy,” the President noted.

    “Yesterday we agreed that the government would sort things out and remind Belarusian diplomatic missions to give a bigger priority to this matter. Every ambassador should be concerned with the exports, in particular, in view of the situation on the Russian market. This is our major market; we sold nearly half of our output there. You see what is happening there. The situation is not simple in Kazakhstan, either. They devalued their national currency not so long ago. Ukraine is broke and this is also one of our major markets,” the head of state said.

    In this regard Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined that “the diversification of exports and the search for new markets are of utmost importance. It is a matter of survival for Belarus. The Foreign Ministry should proceed from this.”

    Addressing the ministers, the President said, “To solve these issues you must use all the tools that are available in Belarus. You can inform me if necessary, and I am ready to work in this direction. These are important tasks which the Foreign Ministry and the government need to address today.”

    Vladimir Makei, in turn, said that the Foreign Ministry is committed to the multi-pronged diversification policy.

    He mentioned a normal pragmatic dialogue with the European Union countries, the United States, Asia and praised export growth. Thus, in January-October Belarus raised export to America, Asia, and the European Union.

    The minister also said that against the backdrop of the export increase to the EU, Belarus’ import reduced by almost 10%.

    The President was informed about the performance of the Foreign Ministry in 2014, the development of trade and economic cooperation with foreign countries and regions, the operation of integration associations.

    According to Vladimir Makei, the Foreign Ministry has already worked out proposals regarding new forms of work on foreign markets which take into account the specifics of the current international situation, including the economic situation. These proposals will be submitted to the government in the near future.

    Participants of the meeting also discussed the President’s schedule of foreign political events in 2015.

    A number of personnel decisions were submitted to the head of state.