Israel and Belarus will consider the abolishment of the visa regime
Iosif Shagal, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Israel in our country, held a press conference for Belarusian mass media. The meeting was dedicated to the 65th anniversary of Israel’s independence.
Despite the fact that the country is living in constant wars and terrorist attacks, during these years its people managed to achieve much, diplomat says. For example, Israel has the largest number of scientific research projects, computers, world-class scientists and museums per capita. It is the third (after the USA and the Netherlands) industrially developed country in the world.
The list of successes and achievements of Israel is long and could take a lot of time to enumerate. But the main among them Iosif Shagal considers the population growth. Today, the country’s population reached 8 million people.
Ambassador is certain that the Belarusian-Israeli relations have great potential and are developing quite dynamically.
For the first time in the history of our relations last year the bilateral trade exceeded 100 million dollars. Currently, it is $109 million. Israeli business is interested in investing in the Belarusian economy. Many projects have been successfully implemented, particularly in agriculture.
According to the diplomat, the total volume of Israeli investments in 2012 amounted to about $ 300 million. It is expected that by the end of this year the inflow of investment will increase by not less than one hundred million. And these are encouraging figures.
Belarusian-Israeli high-tech park meant to become one of the important projects in bilateral cooperation. At present, the ambassador said, the development of necessary documentation is going on at the highest level. The main activity of the park will be the creation of advanced science-intensive products, which will be used not only on the territory of the two states, but in the Common Economic Space as well.
Iosif Shagal notes that one of the major gaps in our relationship is the lack of the necessary contractual and legal framework. And this will be a major topic at the next meeting of the Belarusian-Israeli commission on trade and economic cooperation.
Another long-standing issue is the abolition of the visa regime between the two countries. Perhaps it will be resolved this year. The agreement could be signed during the official visit in Belarus by President of Israel Shimon Peres in the year of his 90th anniversary.
«The visa abolition problem has to be resolved in the nearest time. And even if the president is not able to come to Belarus, it will not become the reason for the suspension of the negotiations on a visa-free regime. We are very actively working on it…» — Iosif Shagal said.