By Vasily Kharitonov
Diplomats from Ukraine, Finland, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland, Egypt, the Republic of Korea, Nepal, Thailand and New Zealand have presented their credentials to the Head of the Belarusian state. “It’s very symbolical that your responsible mission starts on the eve of our major state holiday — the Day of Independence. July 3rd is a sacred date for Belarusians marking the liberation of Minsk from Hitler occupation which has become a symbol of independence of the Belarusian state. Historical memory about firmness and heroism of our nation in the struggle against fascism and about countless victims brought to the altar of the Great Victory has united people while determining world outlook principles and moral values of the nation,” noted Mr. Lukashenko while addressing the diplomats.
“Respect for the right of each nation to choose its own way of development, peacefulness and solidarity, alongside mutual understanding and collaboration, non-admission of dictation and unfairness are fundamental principles which are the basis of our life. These form Belarus’ approaches in international relations while determining the foreign policy course of our young and sovereign state. Therefore, it’s not accidentally that Belarus enjoys deserved reputation of a donor of regional and global security,” added the President.
Mr. Lukashenko also mentioned activation of business life and the appearance of new spheres of mutual interests. “We’re keen to expand contacts in various corners of the planet and to acquire new friends and partners. However, we especially value those whom we trust and co-operate while boasting good traditions of friendly relationships,” underlined the President.
Mr. Lukashenko found words for each of new ambassadors. The tonality of communication towards the Ukrainian diplomat Mikhail Ezhel could be easily guessed taking into account the results of the recent official visit of the Belarusian President to this state.
“First of all, I’d like to emphasise our strong determination to foster ties with Ukraine — our closest neighbour and a very reliable partner. My recent official visit to Ukraine again confirmed our mutual engagement and commitment of our governments to constructively solve burning issues,” Mr. Lukashenko stated.
“We agree with each other that we need to promote the political dialogue, boost economic ties and intensify the entire spectrum of the interstate co-operation. We should take into consideration new large-scale integration processes going on in the former Soviet Union republics,” the Head of State believes.
Mr. Lukashenko noted that Belarus maintains an unwavering focus on collaboration with European countries. In particular, Belarus counts on deeper investment co-operation with Finland and Switzerland.
Finland is a key trade-economic partner for Belarus in North Europe. “We have many common points of coincidence, as well as an objective mutual interest in expanding co-operation across a number of areas. We’d like to raise Finnish investments and technologies in such promising areas as power engineering, woodworking, machine building, construction and the banking sector,” the President said. He also noted that the existing contacts fall short of the real needs of the two countries.
Mr. Lukashenko confirmed that Belarus is interested in a full-fledged co-operation with Switzerland. “In recent years, business collaboration between our countries received a new impetus. A number of Swiss investment projects are being implemented in Belarus. Let the success of these projects contribute to the intensification of our contacts. We need to move forward. Promising co-operation areas include industry, science and innovations, financial ties, culture and tourism,” the Belarusian Head of State added.
Belarus views Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro as promising partners in the Balkan region. “Your countries’ commitment to close integration with the European Union should never be an obstacle for the development of mutually beneficial co-operation with our state. We are ready for expansion of relations in the areas of mutual interest and for enhancement of the level of contacts,” asserted Mr. Lukashenko.
The Head of State stressed that Belarus and the Republic of Korea have always sought to engage in a constructive dialogue. Information technology has become this year’s new theme of the bilateral dialogue. Belarusian government bodies have started a large-scale work together with South Korean partners on the implementation of the e-government project in Belarus. “I hope that our co-operation in the field of information technology will be long-term. Indeed, e-government is just one of many innovative areas that are of great interest to us. Being guided by this example of collaboration, we need to look for new projects. There are a lot of them, especially in the context of the modernisation programme that is underway in our country,” Mr. Lukashenko said.
According to the President, Belarus is closely watching the events in Egypt and views the country as one of the key partners in North Africa, as well as an active and influential participant in the process of resolving the thorny regional problems. “I hope that by joint efforts we will be able not only to restore the previous level of bilateral ties, but also to go further, extending the scope of our trade and economic interaction,” the Head of State stressed.
Mr. Lukashenko said that Belarus has been steadily increasing its presence in South East Asia, Australia and Oceania. “Staying committed to the selected course, we have been consistent in building up a constructive dialogue with every state of the region, among which is New Zealand. We have no disagreements that can hinder the development of trade-economic co-operation. We have issues of shared interest, particularly agriculture.
Mr. Lukashenko also stressed that an important vector of the Belarusian foreign policy in the region is the development of relations with Thailand.
Addressing the diplomats, the President said that at the beginning of their work in Belarus they will be convinced that Belarus is sincerely committed to respectful and constructive dialogue. “On behalf of Belarusian partners you will see commitment to constructive and productive joint work and readiness to resolve any urgent issues. Let relations with the countries that you represent become a good example of friendship and genuine business partnership,” Mr. Lukashenko wished.