[b]Belarus and Venezuela soon to elaborate new 'road map' of bilateral relations[/b]The first official visit of Venezuelan President Nicolбs Maduro to Minsk saw wide-ranging negotiations on a range of issues relating to Belarusian-Venezuelan liaisons. Trade, economic and political co-operation were on the agenda, with Mr. Lukashenko discussing joint projects and promising areas of co-operation. President Lukashenko stressed that Belarus is ready for further Belarusian-Venezuelan co-operation, following on from the achievements seen during Hugo Chбvez’s presidency.
The first official visit of Venezuelan President Nicolбs Maduro to Minsk saw wide-ranging negotiations on a range of issues relating to Belarusian-Venezuelan liaisons. Trade, economic and political co-operation were on the agenda, with Mr. Lukashenko discussing joint projects and promising areas of co-operation. President Lukashenko stressed that Belarus is ready for further Belarusian-Venezuelan co-operation, following on from the achievements seen during Hugo Chбvez’s presidency.
“We’ve already established friendly relations — not only with our common friend, who is sadly not with us today, but with you — the closest and among the most trusted persons known to Hugo Chбvez,” Mr. Lukashenko noted, welcoming Nicolбs Maduro. “We hope and are absolutely certain that the policy carried out by yourself and Hugo Chбvez will continue. Not only myself and the leadership of Belarus but all Belarusian people associate you with Chбvez’s policy,” underlined Mr. Lukashenko.
The President of Belarus also noted that relations with Venezuela already have firm foundations, making their further extension logical and natural. He added, “I’m sure that, in memory of that great person, you and I will do our best to carry out everything once thought and dreamt about by him. We regard Nicolбs Maduro’s first official visit as acknowledgement of our countries’ course of strategic partnership. We felt this during today`s negotiations and are determined to implement everything previously planned.”
The President of Belarus emphasised that the incumbent President of Venezuela took part in all negotiations and arrangements during Hugo Chбvez’s presidency. “Therefore, he knows perfectly all the problems of Belarusian-Venezuelan relations and the issues which need to be solved. He directly participated in the foundation of our relations,” said the President, adding that the President of Venezuela gave his people a global task of economic diversification and modernisation. “We can give essential support and take part in this enormous historical process,” Mr. Lukashenko asserted.
The Belarusian President stressed that he sees Venezuela as a gateway to Latin America in general and to specific states. “Our plan was determined during Chбvez’s presidency and I’m grateful to the President of Venezuela for his promised support in that area. We’d like to co-operate with Venezuela economically, trading with the larger states of Latin America,” he explained. “Venezuela has always supported us in hard times: selflessly, in friendship and despite its own problems. I’ve promised the President of Venezuela that Belarusians won’t leave such favours unanswered. Everything that we can do at the present time and that is interesting to Venezuela, we should transfer to Venezuelan territory. Importantly, we must train Venezuelan specialists.”
President Lukashenko added that Belarus highly appreciates its friendship with Venezuela: one of the most influential and authoritative states in Latin America. “We have much in common, including an identical attitude towards international problems. In recent years, we’ve managed to create a strong foundation for our relations,” he asserted. He underlined that official visits are not just a matter of protocol but bring concrete results. He admits that, while much has been achieved, a great deal more is possible.
“We’ve decided that we should enhance the dynamism of our relations, revisiting areas which remain problematic and developing a new ‘road map’ for our relations,” Mr. Lukashenko commented. He also added that the sides have agreed that on 4 August at the latest a Belarusian-Venezuelan joint commission will sit in Minsk to work out concrete proposals regarding the ‘road map’ and then the proposals will be submitted for consideration of the presidents of Belarus and Venezuela.
The Belarusian Head of State remarked that the implementation of this programme will be closely monitored by the two presidents. “The revision of our relations, the development of a ‘road map’ for the future, as well as strict fulfilment of its measures and control by the presidents — all of it was suggested by the President of Venezuela,” added Mr. Lukashenko.
Mr. Maduro noted the timing of his visit, which took place on the main state holiday in Belarus: Independence Day. "We’ve confirmed brotherly relations between Belarus and Venezuela and will elaborate a ‘road map’ based upon friendship and co-operation,” said the President of Venezuela. He emphasised that the strong relationship nurtured by Alexander Lukashenko and Hugo Chбvez was based on friendship and that his task is to build upon this, ensuring that previous arrangements with Belarus are met. He commented, “The late President Chбvez was a man of ideas and a major supporter of strengthening co-operation with Belarus in many spheres. We are now entering a new phase, of new successes. You can count on us as devoted friends and followers of Hugo Chбvez.”
By Vladimir Khromov