Geography of partnership
[b]The visit by the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, became a new stage of relations between the two countries[/b]Alexander Lukashenko visited Ecuador in 2012, on his first official visit to this country. At that time, negotiations with the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, showed mutual interest in closer co-operation. The return visit by the President of Ecuador confirmed such intentions, while bringing more ‘working content’ to our dialogue. It seems that Ecuador may become another foothold for Belarus on the Latin American continent — to mutual benefit.
Alexander Lukashenko visited Ecuador in 2012, on his first official visit to this country. At that time, negotiations with the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, showed mutual interest in closer co-operation. The return visit by the President of Ecuador confirmed such intentions, while bringing more ‘working content’ to our dialogue. It seems that Ecuador may become another foothold for Belarus on the Latin American continent — to mutual benefit.
Our Latin American guest immediately gained our friendship and goodwill with his deep knowledge of Belarusian history. He regretted that not many people in Latin America are aware of the self-sacrificing and heroic contribution of our nation to the world’s liberation from Nazism.
Welcoming Mr. Correa, Mr. Lukashenko assured, “Belarus attaches great importance to the strengthening of relations with Latin American states and Ecuador occupies a vital place in our foreign policy.”
This can be easily explained, clarified the President. We share almost the same views on the international agenda, while occupying similar positions within the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement and other international organisations. We’re unanimous in our conviction that the world order should be multi-polar. Our prioritisation of socio-economic development for our states, with citizens at the centre, is a shared aim: the orienting point of our states’ development is to enhance the prosperity of citizens. Our foreign policy and trade are aimed at achieving this.
Happily, our economies complement each other rather than rivalling, with Ecuador and Belarus able to supply one another with useful goods and services, as the presidents unanimously agreed. However, Mr. Lukashenko noted that our present level of business contacts are ‘only one percent of what they should be’.
President Correa agreed, adding that his country is rich in natural resources and agricultural goods not seen or grown in Belarus. Meanwhile, we have well developed industrial machine building and, importantly, technologies and knowledge lacking in Ecuador. Mr. Correa values Belarus` willingness to share its knowledge with its friends: something in which Ecuador is especially interested.
Belarus and Ecuador already enjoy successful co-operation in the sphere of oil exploration and extraction but Mr. Lukashenko would like to see our joint work expanded into other areas. The heads of state have agreed to develop collaboration in the energy sphere, constructing power lines in Ecuador and setting up the joint production of machine building and agricultural machinery, while reinforcing interaction in the scientific and military-technical spheres.
“I’m convinced that, through joint effort, we can enter a new stage in the history of our relations. Belarus is ready to take active steps in this direction — first and foremost in the economic field,” stressed the Belarusian Head of State. He added that the potential of our two countries allows for the dramatic expansion of mutually beneficial co-operation.
Mr. Lukashenko especially noted that Belarus is ready for open and businesslike dialogue with partners from Ecuador, in all areas of mutual interest. “Our common task is to lay a solid foundation for the practical implementation of promising projects,” said the Belarusian Head of State. He expressed confidence that the ongoing visit of the top-level Ecuadorian delegation to Belarus will lend powerful impetus to mutually beneficial collaboration in the best interests of our two countries.
Belarus and Ecuador are similar in many ways, without disagreements: a good precondition for long-lasting interaction, the Belarusian President believes.
During their final communication with journalists, the presidents talked about how well they understand each other: as professional economists and people close in spirit. Early in the negotiations, the heads of state spoke about the need to outline three or four key projects, around which further collaboration could focus. However, by the end of the meeting, 4-5 mutually interesting topics had been decided upon, covering over 15 areas of joint work.
President Correa commented, “Your achievements in science, technologies and education are of great interest to Ecuador. We won’t miss the opportunity to use your potential. We have a great field for joint activity, boasting huge potential for co-operation regarding the supply and setting up of tractor manufacture in Ecuador (using Belarusian technologies), alongside medicine production. There’s also interest in collaboration in the energy sphere. In these sectors, our interaction could go beyond the limits of simple trade, taking the next step of technology transfer and joint production. With the co-operation of Belarus, we hope to independently produce high value added goods as part of our revolution in technologies and production.”
Belarus proposes setting up a logistics centre for Ecuador on advantageous terms, helping promote merchandise, as suggested by Mr. Lukashenko during his talks with Mr. Correa. The President of Belarus remarked that this logistics centre could cover Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and other European Union states.
Mr. Lukashenko stressed that he wishes to surpass simple trade with Ecuador, being ready to share technologies, set up joint ventures and train specialists. “Instead of just supplying ready-made products, we could manufacture them together, satisfying your needs and selling them to neighbouring countries. We`re ready to transfer technologies to you and help the people of Ecuador master these technologies,” added the Belarusian leader.
Mr. Lukashenko asserted that Belarus has no intention of asking Ecuador to give Belarusian products or partners preference over national interests. “We’d like to co-operate with you on an equal footing and win under conditions of fair competition,” said the Belarusian President. He added that most of what is being offered to Ecuador has already been implemented in Venezuela, so that concrete results of co-operation can be viewed, to make an informed decision.
By Veniamin Mishin