Dialogue, launched in May in Islamabad, continues in Minsk
Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, in Belarus for official visit, from August 10th-12th
Alexander Lukashenko and Nawaz Sharif at the ceremony of their official meeting
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko personally welcomed the esteemed guest at the airport. This May, the Belarusian President paid an official visit to Pakistan, conducting negotiations with Pakistan’s President, Mamnoon Hussain, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. A package of two dozen documents was signed in Islamabad, aiming to expand Belarus-Pakistan co-operation across many spheres, including industry, agriculture, food, science and technology, as well as investment, information, communication and education.
During his meeting, the President of Belarus expressed his hope that the visit by the Pakistani PM, Nawaz Sharif, will result in a more solid basis for bilateral collaboration and thanked Mr. Sharif for his time. He noted, “We agreed to meet in Minsk at this hour on this day. Thanks to your ability to stand by your word, you and I are meeting in Minsk, at this hour on this day.”
The two sides prepared thoroughly for the visit, with Pakistan visited by representatives of Belarusian business circles and ministers. Meanwhile, members of the Pakistani Government, alongside businessmen, have been to Belarus to study our country, enabling serious decisions to be made at top level.
Belarus and Pakistan are eager to develop efficient and mutually beneficial co-operation, noted President Lukashenko, during extended talks with Prime Minister Sharif. Mr. Lukashenko emphasised that just over two months have passed since his meeting in Islamabad, and much has been done already to improve our contacts, as discussed. In early August, Minsk hosted the first session of the Joint Commission for Military-Technical Co-operation and the President notes the necessity of interacting in these fields. “We have much to offer in this important sector, working together,” he said.
In his opinion, good prospects exist for training Pakistani specialists, as seen by the delegation led by the Secretary of the Pakistani Government for Federal Education and Professional Training, Muhammad Tajwar, during his visit to Minsk.
Mr. Lukashenko believes that meetings held in Belarusian universities will help increase the number of students from Pakistan. The President also believes that the first session of the Belarus-Pakistan Joint Commission was a logical continuation of mutually beneficial contacts. In his opinion, such sessions should be held every year to bolster trade-economic and investment ties.
Belarus understands well the importance of peace, economic development and prosperity, stressed President Lukashenko, during his expanded-format talks with Prime Minister Sharif. Mr. Lukashenko also congratulated Pakistan on its national holiday — Pakistan Independence Day — being celebrated on August 14th. Mr. Lukashenko remarked that Belarus welcomes the decision to open an embassy of Pakistan in Minsk.
The President especially underlined that the potential of Belarus-Pakistan interaction can be fully utilised by going beyond the limits of purely bilateral liaisons. He believes it to be vital that we implement joint projects and render mutual aid to the UN and other international organisations.
Mr. Lukashenko reminded that, during his meeting in Islamabad, the two sides agreed that the visit would feature economic events and would result in the establishment of a solid legal framework.
“Our respect for you is immense. You are a politician who can act as an example to any politician in the world, including myself. Your life has been a struggle and aspiration towards goals set before your team, your party, and your colleagues. Anyone would be envious of your political life. You’re an acknowledged leader of Pakistan and we welcome you as such in Belarus,” added the Belarusian leader.
In turn, Nawaz Sharif noted that it was Alexander Lukashenko who laid the foundation of friendship between our two countries. Mr. Sharif asserted that Pakistan highly appreciates the recent visit of Mr. Lukashenko, adding, “You’ve laid a foundation of friendship between our countries, and today we view our visit as the continuation and further enhancement of our friendship.”
The Pakistani PM has invited the Belarusian leader to visit Pakistan once more, saying, “As our relations are increasingly vibrant, I think we need to meet more often.”
Over the past eight years, the volume of bilateral trade with Pakistan has fluctuated between $50m and $120m per year. Major exports are tractors (one of the major markets outside the CIS), potash fertilisers, synthetic fibres, tyres and synthetic yarn strap. Meanwhile, major imports to Belarus include rice, polymers, styrene, fruits, food, leather goods, fabrics and textiles. In 2014, the volume of our bilateral trade totalled $58.2m, with exports of Belarusian goods to Pakistan amounted to $42,6m (100.3 percent against 2013) and imports reached $15.6m (98.5 percent).
By Alexander Pimenov