Meeting with Governor of Russia's Stavropol Territory Vladimir Vladimirov

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Governor of Russia's Stavropol Territory Vladimir Vladimirov on 8 November.

The head of state warmly welcomed the head of the Russian region to Belarus, noting that more than five years had passed since their previous meeting. "I think you are well aware that in the light of recent developments it is extremely important to have reliable and proven allies. For us, you are exactly like that - our supporter and ally, on whom we can rely," the Belarusian leader stressed. He also thanked Vladimir Vladimirov for his personal warm regard for Belarus.

The President noted that during Vladimir Vladimirov's last visit to Belarus, a number of promising areas for the development of cooperation were outlined. First of all, they relate to the creation of joint ventures to manufacture machines and units, the expansion of the supply of Belarusian equipment, construction and finishing materials, the exchange of food products, partnership in agriculture and cooperation in science.

"There are successes. This is eloquently evidenced by trade statistics. Last year, the trade increased by more than 75%," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. "The results of the first eight months of 2023 are encouraging: 30% up over the high-record 2022."

"Nevertheless, I believe that we have not yet used a significant part of our potential to expand cooperation," the President stressed.

According to him, Belarus has always viewed Stavropol Territory as a breadbasket, as a region with rich traditions and high standards in agriculture, known from Soviet times. "We are closely following your progress in horticulture and selection of fruit crops, sheep breeding. We are willing to consider the possibility of exchanging experience and implementing joint projects," the head of state said.

Belarus, for its part, is also ready to offer cooperation in a number of areas: the latest technologies in crop production and breeding, the supply of seeds and planting material, the exchange of experience and training of professional personnel for agriculture.

Speaking about cooperation in the manufacturing sector, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Stavropol Territory makes a wide use of Belarusian farm machines. "When you received our ambassador to Russia [Belarusian ambassador to Russia] Dmitry Krutoi two weeks ago, you noted that this is 56% in terms of tractors and almost 10% in terms of combine harvesters. We have big plans. We decided to gain a more serious foothold in the south of Russia, which has a predominantly agricultural specialization of the economy, and to set up a multi-brand trade and maintenance center in Stavropol Territory," the head of state said. Such a center, according to him, will allow farmers and utility companies of the region to get better acquainted with the products that Belarus produces, purchase machines without unnecessary intermediaries and receive professional maintenance in a timely manner.

"I know that today you will visit Minsk Tractor Plant. The company has developed a new model of tractor for orchards and vineyards. I think it will also be of interest to you," the President continued.

In addition to the supply of farm machines, Belarus is interested and ready to participate in the local programs to upgrade the fleets of passenger, special-purpose and utility equipment, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

Speaking about the creation of joint assembly plants in Stavropol Territory (this possibility was discussed during the previous meeting with Vladimir Vladimirov), the President stated that the parties have not made much progress in this direction. In this regard, the head of state proposed to instruct the governments to put forward specific proposals by the end of the year regarding the organization of facilities to make certain types of engineering products in the region.

Another area of cooperation discussed during the meeting was tourism and tourism infrastructure. "Everyone knows your famous resorts with mineral waters: Pyatigorsk, Kislovodsk, Essentuki, which are very popular, including among Belarusians (we know and remember them from Soviet times). We are also ready to contribute to the development of the industry. We have the opportunity to supply prefabricated wooden frame and panel structures and eco-friendly furniture for guest houses and hotels to the region," the head of state said.

The President also proposed to think about ways to increase the mutual tourist flow, intensify direct ties between health spas, relevant government bodies and organizations. "In my opinion, it makes sense to resume a direct flight between Minsk and Mineralnye Vody from May 2024, with your support. Vacationers and tourists will thank us for this," the Belarusian leader added.

In addition to the economy, Aleksandr Lukashenko highlighted many other areas where the parties can and should closely cooperate: science, culture, education, and sport. "The opportunities are many," the head of state is convinced.

The President also took note of the personal attention of the head of Stavropol Territory to patriotic education of young people and the Great Patriotic War history. It is largely thanks to the initiative of Stavropol residents that Russia has a new day of military glory on its calendar (since 2020), namely the day of the defeat of the Nazi troops by Soviet troops in the Battle for the Caucasus. "On 9 October, you celebrated the 80th anniversary of this glorious event. In many ways, this day is our holiday, because many Belarusians fought for the Caucasus. Today, as you know, Belarus sacredly honors the memory of our heroes," the head of state stressed.

Summing up, Aleksandr Lukashenko said: "The list of topics to be discussed in Belarus is very long. We are ready for this."

"We are ready to cooperate with you in all areas. If you find something interesting in Belarus, please tell us. We always try to accommodate our partners as much as possible. We will fulfill all our agreements  in good faith," the President added.

For his part, Vladimir Vladimirov thanked for the warm welcome and stressed the high dynamics of the development of cooperation with Belarus: various agreements are being implemented, and trade surges every year. Belarusian equipment is in demand in the region. Polesie harvesters are actively purchased to renew the fleet of agricultural machinery.

"We are interested in continuing cooperation. Thank you for approving the project to open a large multimodal dealership in Stavropol Territory. I am sure that based on the results of its work, we will be able to continue negotiations related to the possibility of localizing the production of Belarusian equipment in Stavropol Territory. We are extremely interested in this," the governor said.

He stressed that the withdrawal of companies from unfriendly countries showed that it is important to focus on long-term agreements.