Meeting with Second President of Austrian National Council Karlheinz Kopf

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Belarus and Austria should open a new page in bilateral relations, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber Christoph Leitl and Second President of the Austrian National Council Karlheinz Kopf on 13 October.

“We need to use the existing experience of cooperation to open a new page and move forward,” the Belarusian head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the time for it has not been wasted, Belarus has maintained ties with Austria.

The President thanked the Austrian side for investments and credit support provided for the modernization of Belarusian enterprises. He emphasized that Belarus will welcome Austria’s business.

“There is only one condition: those who come here must treat our people the same way they treat Austrian people. We will protect you like Belarusian companies. You will not be allies for us; we will do our best to create comfortable conditions for you. The Austrian business should, in turn, respect our country and people,” the Belarusian head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said the meeting with representatives of the Austrian government after the presidential election in Belarus was no accident. He pointed out that he recalls the meetings and events concerning mutual relations with Austria at the beginning of his first presidential term. “Back then it seemed to me that the West had somehow distributed its roles in the post-Soviet space and Belarus received Austria, which is a high-tech country that looks like us in some aspects,” said the Belarusian leader.

“This is why I tend to believe that at this stage when our relations with the European Union and individual countries of the European Union are seemingly warming up, our meeting today and the events taking place in Minsk to discuss economic cooperation with representatives of the Eurasian Economic Union on the one hand and with Austria representing the European Union on the other hand are no accident. They are logical,” remarked the Belarus President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said, “A new stage in my life and probably in the life of our society as a whole is about to begin. I have yet to think more about it.”

Second President of the Austrian National Council Karlheinz Kopf believes that other steps will follow after the suspension of EU sanctions against Belarus.

“There are no random coincidences. I think that our meeting is not a random coincidence but a good combination of circumstances,” Karlheinz Kopf said.

“You celebrated a convincing victory at the presidential election on Sunday. Yesterday the European Union made the first step towards the abolition of sanctions. I am convinced that other steps will follow, and a new page will be definitely opened in our relations, a new era will begin,” Karlheinz Kopf noted.

He praised the fact that Austria has traditionally played an important role in building contacts between Belarus and the EU, in the resolution of tension. “In this context, we are glad that we have made a certain contribution,” the Austrian official said.