Good climate for dialogue of trust and friendship
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.
By Vladimir Khromov
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 our 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 emphasised that Belarus attaches great importance to closer ties with Latin America, including Ecuador. “This is easy to understand. We share views on most points on the international agenda and we understand and share your approach to addressing socio-economic tasks. It is with great interest and joy that we watch the transformation taking place in Ecuador,” noted the Belarusian leader.
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, four or five 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.”
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.
Mr. Lukashenko guaranteed that all the agreements reached will be precisely and reliably fulfilled: as Minsk is known for among its friends and partners. Such standards are rigorous and unbreakable.
The results of the top level meeting are to built upon during a forthcoming visit by an Ecuadorian delegation to Belarus, headed by the Vice-President. The delegation aims to determine tactical issues of further interaction, to be co-ordinated by a special interstate commission.
Ten fir saplings were recently planted on the Avenue of Honourable Guests, near the Palace of Independence in Minsk, by CIS Heads of State attending the last summit. Another has now been added by the President of Ecuador, confirming the avenue’s symbolic representation of Minsk’s multi-vector foreign policy and the diverse geography of its partnerships and friendships.