Meeting with U.S. congressmen

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Belarus was and will be interested in full-fledged cooperation with the United States of America, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with the delegation of U.S. congressmen in Minsk on 3 August.

“We have never renounced this position, even in the most difficult periods of our relations,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

“The Belarusian-U.S. relations have not been frozen even during these difficult periods. We have always maintained cooperation in such important fields as the global and regional security, prevention of the illegal transit of nuclear materials,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the Belarusian side appreciates the support of its initiatives at the United Nations and the readiness of the United States to help Belarus join the World Trade Organization.

“I think that the relations between the United States and Belarus should not be built on reports in mass media. Instead we should analyze the situation in the countries and make corresponding conclusions,” the Belarusian leader believes.

Aleksandr Lukashenko asked the U.S. congressmen to voice their ideas and remarks. “We do not like when someone pushes us in the back. We will never agree to accept someone else’s will. But we can learn from the experience of others. If you put forward the ideas which will help enhance our country’s sovereignty, the ideas which will help improve the wellbeing of the Belarusian people, we will be grateful to you and will start using them immediately,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that there are less challenging issues than uniting factors in Belarus-USA relations.

“Despite some differences of opinion over political matters I am confident that the number of problematic issues that set us apart is lower than the number of positive factors that bring us together,” said the Belarusian leader.

The Belarusian head of state remarked that Belarus-USA contacts have been invigorated recently, including the exchange of visits of official delegations and business ones. Interaction between Belarusian and American law enforcement agencies continues. Interregional ties are being established. Cooperation in the area of science, culture, and education develops. Bilateral trade grows gradually. “Naturally we understand that without it no relations between countries are possible because economy is the foundation of any relations,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“For us the USA is a promising trading partner and an investor. We don’t try to hide it. We are interested in securing access to the solvent and vast American market for Belarusian manufacturers. At the same time we are ready to do everything to make your work in Belarus comfortable,” noted the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined Belarus’ interest in raising investments, promoting manufacturing cooperation, and taking out loans. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, American corporations demonstrate growing interest in Belarus, including in view of the certain advantages granted by the establishment of the Customs Union and Belarus’ participation in the Eurasian Economic Union. At present there are about 400 companies with American capital in Belarus. “However, I am confident that the potential of our economic cooperation is considerably larger,” said the Belarusian head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said he hopes that the visit to Belarus will give a favorable impression of the country and its people to the American congressmen while meetings during the visit will help the sides learn each other better.

“We hide absolutely nothing from you. Everything you would like to see in Belarus, the opportunity that you will be granted will allow creating an integral impression of our country. You can stay in Belarus as long as you like until you have come up with a truly integral impression. It may be negative in some things, positive in other things but it will be your own impression of our country,” noted the Belarusian leader.

U.S. Representative for the 48th District of California Dana Rohrabacher said that this is the first visit of U.S. congressmen to Belarus for many years. This period lasted for too long. Belarus and the United States should have exchanged visits more often. The congressman expressed hope that this visit will open up new opportunities for the bilateral relations.

Dana Rohrabacher said that the picture he saw in Belarus illustrates the efforts of the country to improve the wellbeing of people. He expressed hope that Belarus can be proud of many things and that there are many avenues for cooperation. Dana Rohrabacher said that he was ready to get new impressions in many years after the previous visit.