Strategic areas of co-operation specified by our two countries
President of Bolivia Evo Morales pays official visit to Minsk
By Victor Andreev
Belarus is well-known in Latin America, enjoying productive dialogue with Cuba, and a chain of successful and mutually useful projects in Venezuela. We are viewed as a conscientious and obliging partner, while sharing a similar position on various global issues to most countries in this dynamically developing region.
The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, recently paid an official visit to Minsk, discussing areas of potential co-operation during his meeting with Mr. Lukashenko. The Presidents of Belarus and Bolivia have met previously but this was the first such official visit and Mr. Morales’ arrival is a sure sign of ties between Minsk and La Paz strengthening. During negotiations, there was one touching moment, when Mr. Morales recalled a common friend, Hugo Chбvez, who had introduced Mr. Lukashenko to Mr. Morales some time past. The honoured guest mentioned the great help rendered by Belarus to Venezuela, noting that Hugo Chavez aspired to develop co-operation across the whole region. Of course, the continuation of this is the best tribute to Mr. Chбvez’ memory. Certainly, President Lukashenko supports this view and assured his Bolivian colleague that Belarus is ready to develop co-operation in any sphere.
The possibilities are wide-ranging and Bolivia is rich in mineral resources, although barely a tenth of them have been explored. Belarusian experts showed their ability to work on oil deposits in Venezuela, which is of interest to Bolivia. This Latin American country is also keen to improve its agricultural efficiency, while Belarus boasts cutting-edge agro-machinery and highly skilled experts. In Venezuela, Belarus implemented a number of joint agrarian projects. In fact, many Belarusian innovations have found embodiment in Venezuela, from mining and agriculture, to the manufacture of machinery and building materials and the construction of accommodation. Mr. Lukashenko noted that Bolivia can study the experience of its neighbour to see just what Belarus can offer.
President Morales has asked Minsk to assist in training agricultural experts and expressed his gratitude to the Belarusian President in this sphere, praising the level of agricultural education in Belarus.
Strategic areas of interstate co-operation were outlined by President Lukashenko and President Morales, with a joint commission on co-operation to be set up, headed by Viktor Sheiman, Chief of Belarus’ Presidential Property Management Directorate, and the Head of the Bolivian Presidential Administration. The commission will also include the Vice President of Bolivia and will hold its first session in Minsk in the near future. The aim is to provide Bolivian partners with as much information as possible on the potential of Belarus. The commission will also meet in Bolivia, looking at training needs. All proposals raised by the commission will then be submitted to the heads of state. Belarus has gained entry to new markets in this way previously, with key projects acting as stimulus for further development.
Mr. Lukashenko has assured his colleague that Belarus attaches great importance to expanding relations with Bolivia and is eager to raise co-operation to a higher level as soon as possible. Belarus has watched Bolivia with an interested and friendly eye, seeing its rise in Latin America and within the international arena. Bolivia is a promising partner and a good friend, as Mr. Lukashenko emphasised, saying, “In our complex and restless world, which is affected by financial and economic crises, external threats and political intrigues, it is vital that, nearby, there are friendly countries interested in constructive co-operation. We will build our relations based on this formula.”
Evo Morales completely supports this approach. Confirming interest in further development of partnership, he noted his decision to accredit the Bolivian Ambassador to Russia also in Belarus.