Meeting with Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and Metropolitan Bishop of Bichvinta and Tskhum-Abkhazia Ilia II.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that he long remembered the words Ilia II said the last time he was in Georgia: “We waited for you to visit us for a long time.”

“I appreciate you always finding time to meet with me here. And I promise you that I will regularly come to visit your lovely city and country. And God willing, I will always come to meet you. For me it is a great honor and a great pleasure. You are a highly esteemed person not only in Georgia but throughout the Orthodox world and beyond,” the head of state noted.

The President conveyed Ilia II greetings from Metropolitan Filaret and Metropolitan Pavel.

“Our peoples have always maintained very good and warm relations. We are not strangers to each other. You are our true brothers. We have had no choice but to build the warmest and good relations already as independent states,” the Belarusian leader noted.

In his words, the two countries have made great progress in the development of bilateral relations over the past three years. The two states have built a robust legal framework and signed a big number of agreements.

“You should know that we will always stand by. We are ready to share everything we have and can do,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President emphasized an important role of the church in ensuring the unity of the Georgian people. “Let along the recent past when the Georgian church played a major part in preserving the statehood,” the Belarusian leader said.

Speaking about the situation in the region, the President stressed that Belarus advocates the peaceful settlement of all conflicts. The head of state stated the need to establish relations between the conflicting parties, despite any disagreements. “These relations are possible. They have always been and they will always be. We must remember that we have our people behind us and they want to live in peace and be friends,” the head of state said.

Belarus will do its best to maintain good relations and keep interfaith peace and concord inside the country, the President said. “Belarus is a peaceful and quiet place. This has become our brand of sorts. We will do everything possible to contribute to peace not only in the neighboring but also any other state. We are ready to provide any support these states may ask for, the same way we did to help Ukraine,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

With regard to Ukraine, the head of state expressed confidence that the people of that country will cope with the existing problems soon. “I mean the people. When politicians fail, then people have to intervene. It is painful but apparently, Ukraine should survive this period,” the Belarusian leader said.

The President added that any war begins with a little fight. “Therefore, it is important to stop any attempts to use force and to avoid discord in the society,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

Ilia II warmly greeted the Belarusian head of state and expressed the hope in the further friendship between Belarus and Georgia. “We are very happy that you support us, and I hope that future relations will continue developing in the positive way,” he said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko and Ilia II exchanged gifts and lit a candle. Belarus President’s son Nikolai, who was present at the meeting, performed the Schubert Serenade on the piano. Ilia II also played the music he has written himself.

Before the meeting the President laid flowers at the Memorial of Heroes Fallen in the Battle for the Unity of Georgia.