Trying to make the most of good intentions
Belarus-Russia Union State relations developing successfully, thanks to close ties between regions, notes President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, speaking with Head of Republic of Karelia, of the Russian Federation, Alexander Khudilainen
By Vasily Kharitonov
Mr. Lukashenko emphasised that Belarus is always happy to host delegations from Russian regions, saying, “Our interstate alliance is proving a success, thanks to support from Russian regions. Belarus-Russia relations cannot grow without good, close ties with Russian regions.”
Speaking about the Belarusian diaspora across Russia, and Karelia in particular, the President noted that all those heading Russian regions view Belarusians as good citizens. “They always say that they are the same as Russians: kind, decent and ready to help. I’m glad to hear that Belarusians are creating a good environment, where ever they are living,” he added.
Mr. Lukashenko remarked that, despite the slight slowing of pace in mutual trade last year, an increase of about 20 percent was registered from January to August 2013. He also outlined a number of promising avenues for mutually beneficial co-operation, with Karelia, such as agribusiness and forestry, as well as water provision. Belarusian specialists have the experience necessary to help, as well as modern manufacturing and processing technologies to share. “We are ready to promote collaboration in these areas and invite you to make use of our achievements,” the Head of State asserted.
Mr. Khudilainen remarked that, this summer, the Belarusian Ambassador to Russia visited Karelia for three days, holding productive negotiations regarding mutually beneficial co-operation, including in the spheres of agriculture and wood processing. “We must step up work in the forestry industry, because today’s technologies and production levels satisfy no one,” he admitted. He feels that great opportunities are opening up for sea transportation, with Karelia planning to develop its ports in coming years. He is also keen to see Karelia borrow Belarusian agricultural practices, noting, “At present, Karelian agriculture isn’t enjoying the best of times, while you’ve achieved grand successes over the last 10-15 years.” Mr. Khudilainen is also eager to allocate land lots for shops to sell Belarusian produce in the region.
Mr. Lukashenko sees this as an interesting proposal and added that Belarus is ready to share its agricultural expertise while delivering agro-machinery. He emphasised that Belarusian experience of animal breeding could work well in the Karelian climate, with particular reference to cattle.