Official visit of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev to Belarus

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Azerbaijan can always rely on Belarus, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said during the meeting with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in Minsk on 28 November.

The two heads of state held one-on-one talks and extended negotiations with the participation of the delegations.

“We remember your help in the challenging times. Some day we may tell the story of how issues, including financial ones, are addressed in a friendly environment in a span of several days,” the Belarusian head of state said.

“We have always been committed to our agreements. You have seen it once again. I am grateful to you for your support and assistance, especially in the difficult times,” he added.

Aleksandr Lukashenko wished Azerbaijan and its people to be on top in any situation. “Remember you have friends here,” stressed the President of Belarus.

According to the Belarusian head of state, the two countries follow the practice of exchanging annual high-level visits.

“When we focused on the Belarusian-Azerbaijani relations, mutual trade has improved. There are no political disputes between the two states. I wish I had the same relations with every head of state. We aim to achieve the maximum,” the Belarusian leader said.

The Belarusian head of state emphasized that even in the most difficult times the two countries maintained the mutual trade at its decent level.

“We have made considerable headway and created a good foundation for our relations,” the Belarusian head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked Ilham Aliyev for everything that Azerbaijan does for the two countries, for cooperation supported in all the areas. “I am happy to welcome you here, in Belarus. You are our like-minded fellow, my big friend and a friend of the Belarusian nation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the Belarusian leader, Belarus and Azerbaijan have no closed topics. “We cooperate with you as one Belarusian oblast cooperates with another one,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

“You can always rely on Belarus,” the Belarusian head of state added.

Ilham Aliyev, in turn, stressed that Azerbaijan sees positive dynamics in all-round cooperation with Belarus.

He noted that Belarus is in the middle of the robust economic growth, the country is committed to raising the social wellbeing. “The time is not easy for all countries, but nevertheless there is positive dynamics in Belarus’ development, social and political stability is being ensured. We all are facing the economic crisis; however, Belarus is one of the countries which are subject to this issue least of all,” the Azerbaijan President said.

The President of Azerbaijan stressed that he will be glad if Aleksandr Lukashenko pays an official visit to Azerbaijan next year. “Every visit is another political testimony to the strategic character of relations. We are solving a lot of issues in all avenues, namely in the political dimension, foreign politics, economy, and manufacturing secrtor,” Ilham Aliyev said.

On behalf of the people of Azerbaijan he wished Belarus new achievements. “We will always be your friends, will always rejoice your successes,” the Azerbaijan President promised.

At a one-on-one meeting the presidents of Belarus and Azerbaijan agreed to develop all-round cooperation, from the military-industrial complex to petrochemistry.

“We are absolutely open to our friends from Azerbaijan,” the Belarusian head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that he highly values the friendly and brotherly relations between the two countries. “Ilham Aliyev knows how much time and efforts we needed to build these relations. We cannot lose them,” said the President of Belarus.

“This world has gone mad. You see what is going on around us. We have to live and even survive in this turbulent unpredictable world. We should stay close to each other in order to withstand the present-day threats,” noted the Belarusian head of state.

Belarus and Azerbaijan are interested in raising the capacity of joint ventures and expanding the range of equipment assembled in Azerbaijan, setting up new cooperation facilities together with Azerbaijani companies using locally made parts and components.

The Belarusian President praised the joint project with Azerbaijan to assemble Belarusian MTZ tractors, MAZ and MZKT trucks at Ganja Automobile Plant. Since 2007 it has assembled more than 6,000 tractors Belarus and about 3,000 vehicles and trailers.

According to the Belarusian leader, there are many opportunities for expanding bilateral cooperation in other areas. For example, Belarus can offer inexpensive but reliable MAZ buses of small and middle class, railway passenger trains produced jointly with the Swiss company Stadler and buses with green gas engines for urban transport which assembly can be established in Azerbaijan.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the Belarusian participation might be useful in the transport infrastructure improvement projects in Azerbaijan. For example, Belarus can design the lines and supply equipment for the high-speed urban rail service between the center of Baku and its suburbs, or assist in creating the additional comfortable conditions of the transport service with the Heydar Aliyev airport.

Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested Ilham Aliyev focusing on new ideas and areas of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries amid the current global economic meltdown.

“Nevertheless, the situation demands fast and effective solutions from us in order to build up economic cooperation, including on the markets of third countries,” the Belarusian head of state said.

The Belarus President suggested considering together with the business circles of Azerbaijan cooperation opportunities in the areas of petrochemistry, energy and agriculture. Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that there are considerable reserves to develop counter deliveries of tobacco and cigarettes. In his words, such relations should be created on a long-term basis.

According to the Belarusian leader, IT and information security is of special importance nowadays. He believes it is necessary to continue efforts to develop new projects in the area.

Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed hope that the current high-level meeting would add additional impetus to the development of bilateral cooperation.

“Azerbaijan has always been a reliable friend and partner for Belarus. We highly value our friendship and are ready to promote the advancement of your interests in the Eurasian Economic Union,” the Belarusian head of state stressed.

It is a good idea to set up joint facilities for the processing of Azerbaijani raw materials and semi-finished products in Belarus and sell them on the markets of third countries, including the European Union, Aleksandr Lukashenko believes. According to the Belarusian head of state, this project is promising because of the geographic position of Belarus and its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union. The governments of Belarus and Azerbaijan will be instructed to elaborate this and other projects.

The presidents discussed the prospects of industrial cooperation, the implementation of large infrastructure projects, cooperation in investment and other areas.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the talks were very productive. The sides confirmed the strategic character of bilateral relations and stressed that there are no problems and disagreements between Belarus and Azerbaijan.

According to the Belarusian leader, the countries have harmonized approaches to joint activities in terms of the global economic stagnation and ambiguous forecasts of the international situation.

In this context the presidents voiced their commitment to advancing Belarus-Azerbaijan relations. First of all, this pertains to the trade, economic, and investment cooperation.

The sides agreed on the development of new areas of cooperation in IT, nano- and biotechnology, military industry, scientific research.

After the talks the presidents signed a joint declaration, in which they confirmed their eagerness to promote political dialogue between the two countries, ensure a high level of trust, mutual understanding, and multi-dimensional cooperation.

The agreement on trade and economic cooperation between Belarus and Azerbaijan designed to run till 2025 was signed in the presence of the presidents.

Besides, the Belarusian Labor and Social Protection Ministry and the State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan signed a protocol on cooperation in the mandatory state insurance. A cooperation agreement was also signed by the national academies of sciences of the two countries, the Belarusian National Fund for Fundamental Research and the Science Development Fund under the President of Azerbaijan.

According to the Belarusian head of state, the implementation of these documents will help expand mutually beneficial Belarus-Azerbaijan political, trade, economic, sci-tech, and humanitarian ties.

“In conclusion, I reiterate that there are no unsolved and unsolvable issues between Minsk and Baku. There are no closed topics either. We have been and still are reliable strategic partners,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“Our Azerbaijani friends, our brothers in Azerbaijan should know that Belarus will do everything it can for Azerbaijan. We will always remember the role which you have played in certain difficult times, will always remember that you have offered a shoulder to us. We are a grateful people and will always offer a shoulder to the people of Azerbaijan if necessary,” the Belarus President emphasized.

Aleksandr Lukashenko presented the Orders of Honor to Azerbaijan First Vice Premier Yagub Eyubov and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Ganja Automobile Plant Khanlar Fatiyev. They were awarded for a big personal contribution to the enhancement and development of economic relations between Belarus and Azerbaijan.