Meeting with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko would like to expand cooperation with Latvia and other European Union member states without any prejudices. The Belarusian head of state made this statement as he met with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics on 20 February.

“There are issues that we have to keep in mind all the time, discuss them and, if possible, find acceptable solutions. I have never had and hopefully will never have any prejudices against Latvia. We have always managed to find common ground with our partners, in particular, in trade and economy. I wish our relations with other countries were just as successful,” the President noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus and Latvia are mutually interested in promoting the bilateral cooperation. More than that, the two countries depend on each other in some way. “We are running a great number of infrastructure projects in your country, in particular projects related to port infrastructure. I see that both the government and private business of Latvia are ready to meet us halfway. Therefore, as far as the bilateral relations are concerned, we hope that despite some prejudices on the part of individual politicians in Latvia (and in the West), we will be able to boost our economic cooperation,” the Belarusian leader noted.

The head of state pointed out that the Belarus-Latvia diplomatic relations somewhat lag behind the cooperation in trade and economy. “However, it would be worse if it were vice versa. I think that we will be able to catch up in terms of politics. I hope that your visit will help advance our political relations to the highest level possible,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus seeks to maintain strong and friendly political ties with the neighboring states.

Belarus hopes that Latvia will help it facilitate contacts with other members of the European Union. After all, Latvia is holding presidency in the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2015. “We have always said that although we maintain very friendly relations with the neighboring states – Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine – we are very interested in closer ties with the West as it has advanced technologies and resources. We borrow a lot of funds from them to implement projects using western technologies. Therefore, if Latvia helps us establish closer relations with the EU during its presidency (and later), we will really appreciate it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.