Negotiations with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon

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The negotiations of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon were held at the Palace of the Nation in Dushanbe on 11 October.

Emomali Rahmon greeted Aleksandr Lukashenko on the square in front of the main entrance to the palace.

During the official welcome ceremony, the President of Belarus reviewed the guard of honor that was accompanied by a military band. After that the heads of state joined the official delegations of their countries.

When the official ceremony was over, the Presidents of Belarus and Tajikistan left for bilateral talks. The narrow-format negotiations were followed by an extended-format meeting with participation of delegation members.

According to Emomali Rahmon, the relations between Tajikistan and Belarus are progressively developing in all areas, including economy, culture and humanitarian affairs. “Today I am ready to discuss with you the state and prospects of our relations, as well as international and regional issues,” the President of Tajikistan said.

“I catch myself thinking that when I come to Dushanbe (and this is not my first time here) I feel at home here. And when I go down the stairs of the airplane and they ask me about my flight, I realize that it felt like flying home. Our delegation and I always arrive at a very warm welcome and this cordiality extends to all our people. Our nations are very similar,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian head of state arrived in Tajikistan the same day. He was greeted at the airport by Tajikistan Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda, Agriculture Minister Sadi Karimzoda, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Imomi Sodiq Ashurboyzoda.

“I feel here like on home ground,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said greeting the Tajik delegation.

In the airport the President had a brief conversation with the prime minister to discuss the situation in the country, the harvest season and bilateral relations.

At the negotiations with the President of Tajikistan Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus and Tajikistan can increase their trade by entering the markets of third countries. “We are constantly increasing our mutual trade. Although, as you have noticed, the volume of trade could still be higher. Of course, we can do a lot more, especially in the current difficult times. You have interests in Belarus and beyond. We have great interest in Tajikistan. As we once set a task for the governments, we can increase our trade through third countries,” he said.

In his opinion, the two countries need to enter other markets with joint products. “The demand in the neighboring countries is great. I think our today’s meeting, the scale of our delegation which came to the exhibition we organized, and the forum will contribute to the growth of not only bilateral trade but also trade through Tajikistan to Afghanistan and other countries. Afghanistan needs our products, and they are interested in our joint ties for trade purposes. I think we will also discuss regional issues. I will tell you about the situation in that region, and you will tell me about the things going on here. Tajikistan and Belarus are under the same conditions in the current difficult situation,” the President stressed.

At the extended talks with the participation of the delegtaions Aleksandr Lukashenko first of all thanked Emomali Rahmon for the warm welcome of the Belarusian delegation. The head of state also pointed to the rapid development of Tajikistan. “I am amazed by the speed and scale of the transformations taking place in your country. As I deal with Minsk development issues every day, I understand how much it takes to keep the capital of Tajikistan beautiful and neat,” the head of state said.

According to the President, the current level of bilateral contacts allows the two countries to have a candid discussion of the most complex issues of the bilateral agenda, as well as interaction in international and integration associations.

“The determination of the two countries to strengthen partner and allied relations, to expand and scale up contacts made it possible to upgrade bilateral relations to the level of strategic cooperation. In general, there are no topics that we cannot discuss. We do not hide anything from each other. We discuss all kinds of issues in a friendly, fraternal way and I think we will find a solution,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Speaking about internbational politics, the President noted that the ongoing developments mark the emergence and construction of a new, multipolar system of the political structure of the world.

"It is gratifying that our assessments of the current situation in the world, new challenges and threats fully coincide. Minsk and Dushanbe constructively cooperate in the United Nations, SCO, CIS, CSTO and other international organizations. We are grateful to Tajikistan for the support to Belarus in the face of unprecedented pressure from unfriendly Western countries," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Emomali Rahmon said during the talks: “We treasure the relations of friendship and strategic partnership with the Republic of Belarus. They have a high level of trust and mutual support.”

The Tajikistan President mentioned the huge personal contribution of the Belarusian head of state to the advancement of mutually beneficial relations between the countries. “Our interstate interaction at the present stage advances progressively in politics, trade, economy, science and technology, cultural and humanitarian affairs, and other spheres. We are ready to exercise additional efforts to further enrich it,” he said.

Following the negotiations in Dushanbe, the sides signed a package of documents, including intergovernmental cooperation agreements in the youth policy and trade. A cooperation roadmap for 2022-2026 was also approved.

After the talks Aleksandr Lukashenko and Emomali Rahmon talked to mass media representatives.

“Our delegations have held productive, substantive negotiations. My Tajikistan’s counterpart and great friend, President Emomali Rahmon and I also joined these negotiations. I would like to sincerely thank him for the traditionally warm welcome on the Tajikistan soil. I really appreciate our trusting and friendly relations that have passed the test of time and have been proved by deeds,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the President, during the talks the parties constructively and candidly discussed all issues on the bilateral agenda. Particular attention was paid to trade and economic cooperation.

“Indeed, a lot has been done over the past years, but the potential of the economies of our states is much higher than the current level of bilateral trade. To make the most of the available reserves, we are set to intensify contacts between our enterprises, including through such tools as exhibitions of domestic manufacturers and the Belarus-Tajikistan business forum. It is important that right now the interaction between our enterprises is going beyond simple foreign trade transactions. According to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Vladimir Makei, agreements and contracts worth $50 million were concluded over just one day [at the business forum]. The commercial agreements and contracts that have been signed suggest that this is just the beginning,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that the successful implementation of the joint project to produce Belarusian agricultural machinery in Hissar was Tajikistan’s first experience of using Belarusian expertise and knowledge in its industrialization effort. The project to assemble Belarusian elevators in Tajikistan has also proved successful. Belarus believes that this project can be scaled up.

By the end of the year, Belarus and Tajikistan plan to launch a joint venture specializing in milk processing in Dushanbe. “Our enterprises are providing the necessary technological support to their Tajikistan partners,” the President stressed.

“Every year we expand the legal framework of bilateral relations. During this meeting, a number of international agreements were signed, including intergovernmental agreements on trade, youth policy, several dozen international and inter-university agreements,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

"We discussed in detail the difficult situation in the world and in the region, exchanged views on ways of combating modern challenges and threats. In these turbulent days, our countries consistently support each other in international organizations. I am convinced that we will continue to follow this principle," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President stressed that Belarus is always ready to provide assistance to Tajikistan. "Once again, I thank my friend, the President of Tajikistan, for fruitful, successful talks, which, I am sure, will give an additional impetus to to the bilateral relations. I have just asked members of our delegations, members of our governments to make sure we do not return home empty-handed, to make sure Tajikistan benefits as well. Economy and trade are the cornerstone of our relations. We need to work harder to advance them further. As for us, we have always been a reliable strategic partner and will remain so," the Belarusian leader said.

“You and I have been working together for decades. We are already ‘elders’. Well, you are the doyen. You are now the key person in the CIS. All of us recognize it. I am close to you over there, this is why a lot will depend on us with regard to the development of the Commonwealth of Independent States, in our post-Soviet republics. The time is complicated. But crises exist so that we could exploit them to become stronger. We are ready for it. I am convinced that Tajikistan is, too,” Aleksandr Lukashenko told Emomali Rahmon.