Posted: 21.05.2024 09:05:09

Friendship, partnership, unanimity

The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, has paid a state visit to Azerbaijan

The programme of the stay was very eventful. The President of Belarus and the President of Azerbaijan began communication with a one-on-one meeting. The two leaders had a thorough conversation in a narrow format in the framework of which they discussed a lot of questions on the bilateral agenda as well as regional and international issues. Baku and Minsk confirmed the strategic nature of relations between the two countries. After that, the heads of states were joined by delegations, and the negotiations were held in an expanded format.
“We have no closed topics, everything is open. We communicate like brothers, and understand the world in the same way, realising where it is moving,” the Belarusian leader pointed out.
Aleksandr Lukashenko offered Azerbaijan assistance in the post-war reconstruction of territories. The Head of State stressed that revival and development of territories is the most important and challenging task once the hostilities are over. “The difficult time has come when it is necessary to revive these lands and return people, although some of them might have already been born in the city,” the Head of State remarked. The President noted that this work would require a lot of time and effort. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus is ready to provide support in this direction. 
“We value the trusting, creative partnership between our countries, which is based on mutual respect, friendship and co-operation,” Ilham Aliyev stressed. “Our relations are time-tested. I think that no one doubts that Belarus and Azerbaijan are two reliable friends.”
Speaking about the prospects for further collaboration between Belarus and Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev underlined that he saw great potential for boosting co-operation, including for increasing trade turnover, as well as for continuing and expanding industrial co-operation. The Azerbaijani leader noted that Azerbaijan would be glad if Belarusian companies and enterprises participated in the post-war reconstruction of territories. According to Ilham Aliyev, this topic had also been discussed by delegation members of both countries. “Our co-operation is quite multifaceted, it has a good history and good prospects,” summed up Ilham Aliyev.
Following the results of the official negotiations between the presidents, a package of international documents was signed.
During the conversation with media representatives, Aleksandr Lukashenko assured that Belarus could lend a shoulder to Azerbaijan in a way that no one else in the world would do. “Azerbaijan has achieved a lot in recent years, especially in terms of solving its main problem — the return of lands that had been turning into a desert for a long time,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “It is a hard history. Anyway, the territories have been regained, and they need to be revived. This will probably be a much longer and no less difficult task that Azerbaijan will have to tackle.” 
The Head of State recalled that Belarus and Azerbaijan were implementing a roadmap for the development of bilateral co-operation. In view of a meeting of the intergovernmental commission to be held in Minsk soon and taking into account the new agreements, the parties decided to update this document.
“We have agreed on the joint production of complex mineral fertilisers. Why delay? We need to produce complex mixed fertilisers and start from the domestic market so that Azerbaijan does not need to look for any fertilisers anywhere, but manufactures them here. We have the technology, we are ready to do this and provide the entire region, which is colossal. Iran, Pakistan, India consume a huge amount of mineral fertilisers. We will offer complex mineral fertilisers. We need to advance in this direction by November. We have set such a goal,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. 
“We have discussed all the questions, there were no closed topics. This refers not only to joint production of MTZ [Minsk Tractor Works’ brand] equipment, but also to joint production of MAZ [Minsk Automobile Plant’s brand] machinery, firefighting equipment, as well as the production of elevators. Old elevators that are still present in Soviet houses need to be replaced. We have preserved this production and are ready to produce this equipment here, together with our Azerbaijani friends.”
Azerbaijan is also interested in the production of railway rolling stock — both platform cars and tank cars. Belarus is ready to share its expertise in this area as well. An equally important area is co-operation in agriculture. This includes supplies of elite cattle from Belarus, the construction of agro-towns and infrastructure, the creation of dairy complexes, and the development of farms. This is especially relevant for territories that need to be revived, as the Head of State pointed out.
The traditional area of co-operation between Belarus and Azerbaijan is the supply of timber. Now the Belarusian side is ready to take a step further and build wooden houses on the revived lands of Azerbaijan.Machinery granted to the city of Shusha by the President of Belarus           BELTA

“As for pharmaceuticals, we are ready to start supplying the medicines you need virtually tomorrow as well as create joint production facilities for medicines and veterinary drugs that we know how to manufacture in Belarus,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. 
According to the Head of State, Belarus and Azerbaijan can still accomplish a lot in the humanitarian sphere, including in the field of sports in terms of preparation for major events, healthcare and education. “We are ready to revive local and set up vocational education facilities on a new basis. We have such experience. Nowadays, blue-collar workers are in great demand. Ilham Heydarovich has asked us to undertake this work. We will carry out this work together with your specialists,” the Belarusian leader underlined.   
It is expected that the heads of states will analyse the roadmap implementation in November. The 2024 UN Climate Change Conference will be held in Baku at that time and the President of Belarus is planning to take part in it.
The Belarus–Azerbaijan trade turnover exceeded $400 million in 2023. The parties believe that their countries are capable of reaching $1 billion in the future. “This is going to be a very big step. Maybe we will accomplish this in two stages. At first, we will achieve a $500 million mark in trade turnover within 1-1.5 years, and in some time we will reach $1 billion. We will do everything for this. Thus, in case we buy from unfriendly countries some goods that are produced in Azerbaijan, we should stop doing that and start buying such goods in Azerbaijan, regardless of anything — now is the right moment. Azerbaijan will do the same to meet us halfway,” Aleksandr Lukashenko clarified.    
During the talks, the presidents discussed in detail the situation in their regions and informed each other about the events taking place. “I have informed my counterpart about what is happening in our region in connection with the conflict in Ukraine. In the most detailed way. Our assessments and points of view are either close or coincide. You know our position. The situation is not easy for us in this regard, but we will do everything to make peace there. We will move in this direction. Azerbaijan’s experience of post-war recovery, peaceful development is very important for our region,” the Belarusian leader stressed. The Head of State noted that the situation in the Caucasus region was not calm, either.

On the streets of Baku               BELTA
“Thank God that a very powerful and normal leader represented by Azerbaijan has appeared here. You are able to control the Caucasus region. You are already responsible not only for Azerbaijan but for the situation in the Caucasus as a whole. We, the peoples who do not live in the Caucasus, have great hopes for that. Therefore, this is an additional burden on you, although you have enough problems of your own. Nevertheless, there is no other way — time has chosen you, as we say, and you are responsible for the Caucasus region as a strong leader,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasised.  
The President of Belarus invited his Azerbaijani counterpart to pay an official visit to Belarus at any convenient time to continue the bilateral dialogue.
After the official talks and a visit to the Caspian Agro international agricultural exhibition, Aleksandr Lukashenko laid a wreath at the tomb of National Leader Heydar Aliyev at the Alley of Honours in Baku. The Head of State laid flowers at the grave of Zarifa Aliyeva, the spouse of the former President of Azerbaijan and the mother of the current leader of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. The Belarusian leader also laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame monument at the Alley of Martyrs (‘fallen heroes’).
Within the framework of the state visit, Aleksandr Lukashenko, together with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, visited the country’s territories under restoration. 
The Belarusian leader arrived in the city of Fuzuli. Ilham Aliyev welcomed Aleksandr Lukashenko at the airport at the aircraft stairway. The President of Azerbaijan briefed his Belarusian counterpart on the ongoing work on the restoration and development of those territories, and the construction of new infrastructure facilities. Aleksandr Lukashenko got familiar with the new airport, and the presidents headed to the city accompanied by an impressive motorcade. 
During the trip, Aleksandr Lukashenko and Ilham Aliyev took a look at the city’s territory, destroyed facilities and promising areas for development. The presidents travelled along the route in the same car driven by the President of Azerbaijan himself. 
Aleksandr Lukashenko was demonstrated the expositions reflecting the dynamics of the restoration of destroyed facilities, after which both leaders headed to the city of Shusha [in Nagorno-Karabakh region]. The heads of states visited the residential area of the city, familiarising themselves with housing conditions, as well as memorable places and a museum exposition dedicated to the life and political activities of Heydar Aliyev. Aleksandr Lukashenko and Ilham Aliyev also inspected tractor equipment granted to the city by the President of Belarus. “If you like them, we will give more,” the Head of State noted.
The city holds a lot of reminders of the tragic past — some buildings are not subject to restoration, memorials and temples have been destroyed. “Talking ruins...” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “It is necessary to restore buildings, where possible.”  During a visit to Azerbaijani territories under restoration           BELTA

Following the results of the official talks between the presidents of Belarus and Azerbaijan, nine documents have been signed

Among them are international treaties and memoranda. In particular, there has been signed a protocol on mutual application of electronic systems for certification of origin of goods aimed at simplifying international trade, as well as protocols that update the previously concluded co-operation agreements in the field of veterinary medicine, and quarantine and plant protection.
The parties have also signed an action plan for the development of co-operation in the field of tourism for 2024-2025, a memorandum of understanding and co-operation in the field of competition policy, public procurement, consumer protection and advertising.
Another memorandum of understanding has been signed between the National Agency for Investment and Privatisation of Belarus’ Ministry of Economy and the Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses of Azerbaijan. This document creates a legal basis for the exchange of experience and improvement of business climate in order to enhance the investment attractiveness of both countries.
In addition, the parties have signed memoranda on the establishment of twin-city relations between Minsk and Baku, Gomel and Ganja, Grodno and Gabala. Collaboration in the new format will make it possible to leverage the regional potential in order to ramp up multifaceted interaction.
The parties will pay special attention to the implementation of joint projects in the field of economics, urban planning, local government, transport and road infrastructure, housing, science, education, culture, preservation of historical and cultural heritage, the environment, urban planning, healthcare, sports and tourism. It is envisaged to establish closer co-operation and develop direct contacts between industrial enterprises and companies, educational and scientific institutions, youth associations and creative unions, healthcare, culture, sports and tourism institutions.         

During the Caspian Agro and InterFood international exhibitions in Baku          BELTA

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