Integration orients towards regions

Belarus and Yaroslavl Region agree to strengthen co-operation during Minsk meeting
By Vladimir Khromov

The meeting between President Alexander Lukashenko and the Governor of the Yaroslavl Region tackled the problem of expanding mutual ties across all areas.

“Industrial co-operation is one of the most promising areas. It opens up great opportunities for ambitious joint projects. Belarus is ready to continue further expansion of the scales of such interaction,” noted the Head of State.

He suggested focusing on projects that would make the most of the industrial, scientific, technological and human potential of Belarus and the Yaroslavl Region. Yaroslavl is home to a number of Research and Development centres engaged in applied research. Therefore, the President of Belarus deems it necessary to consider options of interaction in science and education, while implementing high-tech projects and launching innovative solutions.

“We need to understand that Belarus isn’t so rich that it can hand out its property, especially its key assets. Belarus aims at integration, and this integration shouldn’t only be words. There should be definite projects of particular enterprises,” emphasised the Belarusian leader.

Mr. Lukashenko said that if, for example, MAZ wanted to have closer ties with the Yaroslavl plant, including the exchange of assets, it would be understandable. “If some senior official shows an interest in our company, and says that we must get together to fight... Fight against whom? We have a single market. We can divide it without the exchange of shares,” explained Mr. Lukashenko.

The Belarusian President noted that, since Soviet times, Belarus and Russia have had close ties, and called the announcements about Belarus’ reluctance to implement joint integration projects, stupid. “We have never given up on deep integration with the Russian Federation, with any region of Russia. We would find common ground with the regions and governors much faster than with the Russian Government,” said the President.

In his turn, Sergei Yastrebov, said that the Yaroslavl Region already co-operates with Belarus on a number of programmes and areas. The major area, however, is the construction of diesel engines. “For us, the notion of integration turned into real co-operation a long time ago,” underlined the Governor. “We would like to continue such interaction, and develop it on the basis of new financial and economic relations by offering your country our new competitive produce.”

Moreover, the Governor is convinced that the Yaroslavl Region is ready to step up co-operation in such areas as petrochemicals, oil processing and agro-industrial complex.

Addressing his Russian guests, Alexander Lukashenko noted, “You’ve chosen a good moment, because now we can do a lot together. It is a pleasure for us to work with Yaroslavl, and I would like us to find such connections in order to bring us closer together. I refer to a deep co-operation between Belarusian and Yaroslavl enterprises.”
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