Meeting with Gazprom Chairman of Board Alexei Miller

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Russia should not doubt Belarus’ honesty, integrity and reliability, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Gazprom Chairman of the Board Alexei Miller on 21 August, BelTA has learned.

“I am already sick and tired of reading some reports in the Russia media. Various political whifflers and provocateurs are starting to find fault with me. But I do not know why Russia needs this policy. But it is up to them to decide,” the head of state said.

“I just want to say that this is not an alien country for you, not an alien land. We will always do what is good to Russian companies and to Russia in general. Belarus is ready to support all kinds of projects, be it construction projects or the ones connected with our main cooperation avenues. Please tell us if we can do something outside Belarus, we will join you immediately. You should always remember it,” the President stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko asked to inform Russia’s government about this position. “They should not doubt our honesty, integrity and reliability,” he said.

The President emphasized that there are no commercial interests behind these words. “We have never traded and will never trade our common security and our common independence,” the Belarusian head of state said.

“We do not have to choose between the West or Russia, the West or the East. We have never had such negotiations and have never had to choose between Russia and the West,” the President said.

“Russia is our common Fatherland. We have never had serious collisions; we just had to solve a number of tiny issues in our common home. But we have never had big problems and will never have. At least, Belarus will never cause them. And all western politicians who have been here will never say that we held talks at the expense of Russia or used Russia to threaten anybody. This will never happen,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“At the same time, we say openly and honestly that we want to normalize relations with the European Union and the United States, just like Russia or any other state. But we cannot give up on our interests. We have already demonstrated it,” the President noted. He stressed that Belarus has been under the pressure of the western sanctions for a decade. “But these are our problems. We will never attempt to address them at the expense of our brotherly Russia,” the Belarusian leader said.

As for the cooperation with Gazprom, the President remarked that there are no problems, issues or even minor hitches in economic relations with Gazprom as the key supplier of the resources the Belarusian economy needs. “There are only things we can discuss regarding our future actions for the sake of expanding cooperation,” said the Belarusian leader.

The Belarusian head of state said: “We are ready to provide the capacity to Gazprom, if it is necessary, if Europe needs it, to transit more natural gas via Belarus.” “You can rest absolutely assured that for you Belarus is no foreign country,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.

He thanked Alexei Miller for the accurate fulfillment of all agreements. “I thank you for it. You should know that we are always ready to offer a helping hand to you,” noted the Belarusian leader.

In turn, Alexei Miller stressed that Gazprom will honor all the goals and tasks set by the Belarusian government regarding the development of the gas industry in Belarus. The company is going to invest more, in particular, in the construction of gas pipelines in the regions and gas distributor stations. Alexei Miller also mentioned Gazprom’s decision to buy more equipment in Belarus in the medium term.

After the bilateral meeting Aleksandr Lukashenko and Alexei Miller paid a time capsule at the construction site of the multi-purpose complex Gazprom Center.

The new complex will be located on the corner of Nezavisimosti Avenue and Filimonova Street near the National Library of Belarus. It will unite nine buildings of different heights, including a 36-storey building in the middle. This building will house Gazprom companies headquartered in Minsk. The center will also include a hotel complex, a congress center, a retail zone, restaurants and cafes, a parking lot, multi-purpose healthcare, sports and children’s entertainment centers. All these facilities will be open for Minsk residents.

A parking zone will be located between the complex and Nezavisimosti Avenue. The complex will also include an open-air summer amphitheater surrounded by fountains for concerts and festivals. A public ice rink can be opened their in winter.

The construction is expected to be finished in 2018. Alexei Miller assured the head of state that the high-quality center will be built as quickly as possible. “Belarus and Gazprom are united by the decades of productive cooperation. Gazprom Transgaz Belarus fully satisfies the country’s demand for gas and makes a contribution to the gradual development of the Belarusian gas industry,” Alexei Miller noted. He emphasized that the company implements social projects in Belarus, in particular, it takes part in the restoration of Brest Fortress, implements the program Gazprom for Children, builds apartments for families with many children.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that the construction of the multifunctional complex Gazprom Center proceeds in line with the agreed schedule. “Have no doubt that you will never be blamed for starting this construction project worth roughly $250 million. The project represents a huge investment, even for Gazprom, and it comes at a complicated time,” said the President.