Active time for political contacts
Azerbaijan can always rely on Belarus
Azerbaijan can always rely on Belarus, as we are reliable strategic partners, noted the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, on meeting the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, in Minsk
Ilham Aliyev and Alexander Lukashenko during their meeting in Minsk
The President of Belarus notes that, even in difficult economic times, our two countries have maintained turnover at the previous level, despite a considerable fall in trade with other states.
“We’ve taken a great step in creating a good foundation for our relations,” stressed Belarus’ Head of State.
Mr. Aliyev replied that Azerbaijan sees positive dynamics and efficiency across all areas of co-operation with Belarus.
He stated that Belarus is enjoying rapid economic growth and solving issues of social welfare. He commented, “It’s a difficult time for every country but Belarus is preserving its positive dynamics of development, while ensuring public-political stability. We’re all subject to the economic crisis; nevertheless, Belarus is among those countries less affected.”
Mr. Aliyev underlined his desire to welcome Mr. Lukashenko’s next official visit, stressing, “Each visit provides further political confirmation of the strategic character of our relations. We’re solving a great many issues across various political spheres: foreign policy, economic and industrial.”
On behalf of the Azerbaijani people, the President of Azerbaijan wished Belarus well in new achievements, saying, “As friends, we’ll always remain close, being pleased at your successes.”
The presidents of Belarus and Azerbaijan met in narrow format to discuss military-industrial co-operation and liaisons in petrochemistry, expanding joint production and, especially, assembly of machinery in Azerbaijan. They also discussed opportunities for new co-operative manufacturing with Azerbaijani companies, using locally produced components.
In particular, the President of Belarus noted the great efficiency of a joint Belarusian-Azerbaijani project to assemble Belarusian MTZ tractors and MAZ machinery, at Ganja Automobile Factory. Since 2007, the facility has assembled over 6,000 ‘Belarus’ tractors and around 3,000 automobiles and trailers.
According to the Belarusian leader, a great many opportunities exist to expand bilateral interaction. For example, the assembly of reliable and affordable MAZ buses (small and medium sized) for public transport, produced jointly with Swiss Stadler, and assembly of eco-friendly comfortable urban gas-fuelled buses.
Mr. Lukashenko hopes to see Belarus help improve Azerbaijan’s transport infrastructure, such as by laying railway lines between the centre of Baku and its suburbs, and setting up additional transportation with Heydar Aliyev airport.
Mr. Lukashenko has suggested that he and Mr. Aliyev focus on areas of mutually beneficial co-operation, taking into account the global crisis. He emphasised, “Our time requires that we find quick and efficient solutions, to expand economic collaboration, including on the markets of third states.” He sees potential in the sphere of IT and information protection, wishing to pursue joint projects.
Mr. Lukashenko is hopeful that the recent top-level meeting will inspire further bilateral co-operation, and solid agreements. He views as promising the establishment of facilities to process Azerbaijani raw materials and semi-finished goods in Belarus, for onward sale to third countries, including the EU. Belarus’ geographical location and its membership of the Eurasian Economic Union are advantageous. The governments of Belarus and Azerbaijan are being given corresponding instructions on further elaboration of these and other areas.
The presidents also discussed possible interaction in the sphere of production co-operation, implementing major infrastructure projects, and attracting investments. Mr. Lukashenko underlined that negotiations had been constructive and efficient, bringing confirmation of the strategic character of bilateral relations. He stated that no obstacles exist between Belarus and Azerbaijan.
After the negotiations, the presidents signed a joint declaration confirming their intention to facilitate political dialogue between their countries, strengthening high-level trust, mutual understanding and multi-faceted co-operation.
In the presence of both heads of state, Belarus and Azerbaijan signed a treaty and an agreement for a programme on socio-economic co-operation until 2025.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Belarus signed a protocol on co-operation in the sphere of obligatory state social insurance with the State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan.
Agreements on co-operation were also signed by the national academies of sciences of our two countries, the Belarusian Republican Foundation for Fundamental Research and the Science Development Foundation, under the President of Azerbaijan. According to the Belarusian Head of State, these should facilitate further expansion of mutually beneficial Belarusian-Azerbaijani ties in political, trade-economic, sci-tech and humanitarian co-operation.
Alexander Lukashenko is hopeful that the recent toplevel meeting will inspire further bilateral co-operation, and solid agreements. He views as promising the establishment of facilities to process Azerbaijani raw materials and semi-finished goods in Belarus, for onward sale to third countries, including the EU. Belarus’ geographical location and its membership of the Eurasian Economic Union are advantageous.
By Vasily Kharitonov