Working visit to Ukraine

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Belarus is always ready to help Ukraine. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement as he met with his Ukrainian counterpart Piotr Poroshenko in Kiev on 21 December.

“I would like a good state of affairs in Ukraine. Many perceive it as some kind of game and so on. I know that you don’t view it like that. You are the president and you feel hurt. I feel hurt, too. And I act with this in mind,” noted the Belarusian leader.

“Therefore, if need be, I’ve told you earlier: if you want something from Belarus, tell us, we will do whatever you ask of us within 24 hours. I say it publicly that we have always done whatever the president of Ukraine has asked us to do. And we will continue doing so in the future,” stressed the Belarus President.

“It is not a game for us. Not only due to trade considerations but because we are neighbors, we live nearby, we are not strangers,” he added.

“They tell me that Lukashenko is afraid of something. I am not,” stressed the Belarusian head of state. “We could do it out of the public view. We could choose not to tell anyone anything. We could do everything in secret only for the sake of making progress in this direction”.

Aleksandr Lukashenko asked Piotr Poroshenko not to mention the Belarus president’s credit with regard to the Minsk agreements. “You called me for help to organize the meeting, telling me that your people will come and representatives will come. I am an organizer, not a peacemaker and not a mediator,” said the Belarusian leader.

The Belarus President drew attention to the fact that despite the situation in Ukraine the bilateral trade turnover had not dropped but, on the contrary, was on the rise. Besides, Ukraine is now interested in buying a wide choice of Belarusian goods. “Ukraine has no outstanding payments to us. Our contracts with you are fully paid up,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

Piotr Poroshenko, for his part, thanked the Belarus president for granting the trilateral contact group a unique opportunity to deal with topical problems via a dialogue. He was also grateful for Belarus’ clear stance on the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine.

“I hope that as a result of our dialogue we will be able to restore the Minsk meetings and their intensity. I hope that today we will have an opportunity to thoroughly discuss the entire list of potential possibilities that are opening up for our cooperation,” the Ukraine President said.

The Ukrainian head of state drew attention to the importance of the meetings in Minsk. “Thanks to the effective interaction between us the terms ‘Minsk format’, ‘Minsk memorandum’, ‘Minsk protocol’, and ‘Minsk agreements’ are now part of the history of diplomacy. The entire world now says that they are the foundation of the peace plan of President Poroshenko and the foundation of the peace process in Ukraine. They have been recognized by the UN, the European Union, and the G20. They actually represent a no-alternative model for the de-escalation of the situation in some parts of Donetsk Oblast and Lugansk Oblast,” the Ukraine President said.

Piotr Poroshenko drew attention to the warm and friendly nature of relations between the two countries and between the two presidents.

The heads of state discussed economic cooperation, coordination of efforts in international organizations, interaction in security matters, and financial cooperation.

At the expanded participation meeting Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus will do everything to promote peace in Ukraine.

“I would like to assure you that just like in political matters we are absolutely transparent, absolutely sincere and outspoken. If we can do something together or we can do something for Ukraine or if we see that Ukraine can do something for us in economic affairs, we will tell you about it directly and openly. In this case you can absolutely count on us,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that during the private negotiations the presidents also spoke about the conflict in Ukraine’s east. “Everything that Belarusians have promised is being implemented inviolately,” said the Belarusian head of state. “You didn’t reproach me for anything. We will continue doing our best to see peace and calm in Ukraine. We have a vested interest in it”. Aleksandr Lukashenko added that Ukrainians are no strangers for Belarusians. Besides, there are great practical benefits in Belarus-Ukraine cooperation: the trade turnover is close to $7 billion. “Who will replace these trade figures for Belarus and Ukraine? Nobody will,” the Belarus President remarked.

“God destined us to live on this land shoulder to shoulder. We have always lived as people should,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “I know Ukrainians well, I know Ukraine. For me there have never been any problems here personally. This is why we will do everything for the sake of good life here”.

“And I have told you: if we can do something for you, call us, tell us what needs to be done, what process we have to be part of and I guarantee to you that if you make a decision, like you said, in favor of continuing the dialogue in Minsk, if it is necessary to discuss something using Minsk as the venue, you know that you have friends over there and we are always ready to fulfill any request of yours,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

The Presidents also focused on more concrete practical aspects of bilateral cooperation, for example, in such areas as the energy industry, machine-building, regional interaction.

The heads of state agreed to create a TV channel in Belarus in association with Ukraine. “We already have the relevant experience. Three or four Russian channels cooperate with Belarusian ones. Why can’t we establish the same kind of cooperation with Ukraine?” the Belarusian leader said.

“This is why we should not forget to do that. We have to pick out a channel in Belarus,” the Belarusian head of state added.

“We have been saying for a long time that Belarusians have the right to see different points of view and it would be good if an information channel of Ukraine had the ability to broadcast in Belarus,” Piotr Poroshenko noted.

He also assured that Ukraine is interested in advancing trade, economic, political relations, and security cooperation with Belarus.

In the evening Aleksandr Lukashenko attended a dinner on behalf of Ukraine President Piotr Poroshenko.