Meeting with Italy President Sergio Mattarella

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Belarus and Italy agreed to step up mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation. This issue was discussed at the meeting of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko with Italy President Sergio Mattarella at the QuirinalPalace in Rome on 20 May.

The talks were held in a very warm and friendly atmosphere. The sides discussed the development of trade and economic relations, political contacts, the international situation. The Belarusian side thanked Italy for the pragmatic and balanced attitude to Belarus even in the period when the relations with the European Union were tense.

“Belarus will always be a donor of stability and decency with regard to Italy and the European Union as a whole,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

The meeting focused on the development of business contacts. Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested setting up a business council which could help resolve many issues in the interaction of business structures. Sergio Mattarella, in turn, spoke in favor of the idea and noted it would be an excellent instrument for promoting cooperation in the sphere of business.

Both Belarus and Italy are interested in the advancement of multifaceted mutually beneficial cooperation. Taking into account the strong interest of the Italian private sector in Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko assured of the readiness to act accordingly. Belarus is particularly interested in Italy’s experience in setting up small and medium enterprises in various spheres, including information technologies, agriculture, manufacturing and processing of agricultural products, and other areas. It was noted that among other instruments these companies should be used to create a solid foundation for interstate interaction.

The agenda of the meeting also included efforts to step up investment cooperation and set up Italy-owned enterprises in addition to joint ventures in Belarus. “We are ready to provide all the necessary conditions for it,” the Belarusian head of state said.

The sides also agreed that it is necessary to resume work on the project to set up an Italian industrial park in Brest. There is indisputable interest of the Italian side in the implementation of this project and other ones considering Belarus’ membership in the Eurasian Economic Union.

The presidents agreed that for the sake of more effective cooperation in a number of areas it is necessary to improve the legal base, make it more fully-featured.

Interaction in social affairs was also discussed by the heads of state. Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked Sergio Mattarella for Italian assistance with arranging recreation opportunities for Belarusian children. In turn, the Italian side thanked Belarus for constructive interaction in the adoption of children.

The presidents also talked over topical items on the international agenda, including the situation in Ukraine. “Minsk is the land that promises hope for the resolution of this conflict,” the Italy President said.

At the end of the meeting the heads of state agreed to enhance contacts. The Belarusian head of state invited Sergio Mattarella to visit Belarus at a time of his convenience. The President of Italy, in turn, thanked Aleksandr Lukashenko for the invitation and said he was pleased that Belarus and Italy had managed to maintain relations of constructive cooperation.