Vladimir Putin met with President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who arrived in Russia on a working visit, at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi.
Sochi,September 14, 2020
1 of 4With President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lukashenko,
I am pleased to see you.
I have already congratulated you on your victory in the presidential election, but I did so in writing and over the telephone. Now, I am delighted to have the opportunity to do so in person. I would like to wish you all the best and every success.
Of course, we are aware of the internal political developments in Belarus related to these elections. You are well aware of our position: we are for the Belarusians themselves, without any suggestions or pressure from outside, calmly and in a dialogue with each other, sorting this situation out and come to a common decision on how to organise their work in the future.
We are aware of your proposal to begin work on the Constitution. I think it is a logical, timely and proper thing to do. We are also aware of the position that your representatives most recently voiced at the OSCE in connection with the work on the Constitution. As far as I recall, a corresponding body has already been created, which is headed by the Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Court. I am confident that, with your experience of political work, work in this area will be organised at the highest level, which will allow you to break new ground in improving the country’s political system and, thus, create proper conditions for further development.
Russia remains committed to all our agreements, including the agreements arising from the Union State Treaty and the CSTO Treaty. We regard Belarus as our closest ally and, of course, as I have told you many times in our telephone conversations, we will honour all our commitments.
We undertook these commitments mutually in 1992 and, I believe, in 1994. Anyway, in 1994 you were already President; I wasn’t, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that Russia undertook certain commitments, as I said, and regardless of who is in power at a particular point, the country must honour these commitments. You are aware that we have repeatedly stated that we will do so.
With regard to our economic relations, Russia remains the largest investor in the Belarusian economy. Just one of the projects – a nuclear power plant – is estimated at 10 billion in US dollar terms. In general, over 50 percent of Belarus’ foreign trade is with Russia. Almost 2,500 enterprises with Russian capital are operating in Belarus. We have very stable and deep cooperation in a number of areas and industries.
By the way, the coronavirus has affected our trade, unfortunately, but this is happening all over the world, and our trade levels are down as well. In this connection I believe we need to make extra efforts in order to not only restore the pre-crisis level of trade and economic relations, but to create conditions for advancing our trade as well.
I suggest that we focus on this today as well. I have a number of proposals. I think we can make extra efforts at the government level, as well as the ministry and department levels and even with individual companies in order to overcome the existing problems and, as I said, create proper conditions for moving forward.
Our colleagues at various levels – companies, ministries and departments – are in constant contact with each other. Yes, the Government in Belarus has changed but this will not change our active work, all the more so since Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin visited Belarus quite recently. I know that he had very serious, lengthy talks and they were successful in all areas of our cooperation, including finances. We agreed that during this complicated period Moscow would grant Minsk a state loan of $1.5 billion and we will do this. I believe that our finance ministers are now working at a professional level on this issue.
We will have to continue our cooperation in defence. Of course, I am referring primarily to defence companies. We have intensive cooperation in this area, including fairly sensitive areas, such as in the military sphere.
Incidentally, today we start the military exercises that were planned last year, which are scheduled to run for several days. But, in effect, this is routine for the military. This is for the training of troops. Let me repeat to prevent conjecture: this is an event that was planned and even announced last year. After the joint exercises the Russian units will return to their permanent stations.
In conclusion, I would like to mention a very urgent issue, notably, our efforts to counter the coronavirus infection. As our prime ministers and later our healthcare ministers agreed, Belarus will be the first country to receive our antivirus vaccine against COVID-19, and it has already started taking part in the last phase of the testing. I think this will allow us not only to develop joint production but also ensure the appropriate level of vaccination for the safety of our citizens and the efforts to counter this disease.
Mr Lukashenko, I am very happy to see you. Welcome.
* News Source Russian President official Website, All item published as IBG NEWS listed with the esteemed office.All images videos copyright with the Official Website and their respective right holders.*