By Igor Slavinsky
Alexander Lukashenko has negotiated with Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, with Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and with Azerbaijan’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Yaqub Eyyubov. The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, was also his guest.
Very good relations have been established between Armenia and Belarus, including at the highest level. Our states are allies within the CSTO and our two presidents regularly meet for bilateral talks, and at various summits. Mr. Lukashenko notes that ‘politics and conversations don’t mean anything without an economic foundation’. Over the last decade, turnover between our countries has risen almost 16-fold.
On the eve of the pre-election campaign in Armenia, the Belarusian President said, “I’d hope you emerge from this time successful, with the positive dynamics and trends existing in the economy and society preserved.”
The Armenian Prime Minister believes that our high level of political dialogue will bring corresponding economic relations, with definite steps elaborated by both governments for this purpose.
Kiev and Baku are Minsk’s strategic partners. Moreover, we enjoy joint projects in trilateral format. Belarus’ plans to ensure its energy security are directly connected with these two states. In fact, the Ukrainian vector is one of the most important of Belarusian foreign policy, with trade figures acting as bright examples. Our southern neighbour is ranked second for Belarus, while we are among the top five for Ukraine. In the first three months of this year, mutual turnover totalled $1.2bn (up almost 60 percent on last year). As is traditional, Belarusian exports are expanding quicker than imports, bringing in currency. Undoubtedly, Ukraine is a beneficial partner.
“I’d like to tell you that Belarus has always been and remains loyal to its principles. It has been a reliable ally of our brotherly Ukraine and remains so,” asserted Alexander Lukashenko to the Ukrainian Prime Minister. “We’re ready, without hesitation, to jointly promote Ukraine’s interests alongside our own. I’d like you to pass these words to President Yanukovych.”
In recent times, our countries have implemented several major joint projects, with the launch of oil transit for Belarus via Odessa port among the greatest. Supplies of Venezuelan Santa-Barbara oil have been arriving for the past year, with 17 tankers already discharged. A contract has been signed for annual pumping of 4m tonnes of Azerbaijani oil via Ukraine, through the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline.
Energy issues were also high on the agenda during the meeting with the Baku guest. Addressing the Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Yaqub Eyyubov, the Belarusian Head of State noted, “Unfortunately, our independence and our sovereignty are hampered by ‘evil’ energy sources and raw materials; such is our economy. You’ve given us a shoulder. Today we process Azerbaijani oil of the highest quality. You’ve defended us and saved our independence and sovereignty, just as Venezuela has. We’re sincerely grateful to you for this.”
At present, our two countries are closely liaising in every possible area. Mr. Lukashenko has assured his guest, “Minsk will remain faithful to all mutual agreements.”
According to the Presidential Press Service, issues of bilateral trade-economic collaboration between Russia and Belarus were tackled at a meeting with Vladimir Putin.