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Lukashenko: Belarus-Russia relations are unshakable

SOCHI (BelTA) – The relations between Belarus and Russia are inviolable regardless of what some people might say or write, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Krasnaya Polyana on 13 February, BelTA has learned.

“In the context of the international agenda, Belarus-Russia relations are inviolable, no matter what some people might say or write. We don't even have to tell you this. We, at least, know it full well,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

“I also appreciate your support for our economy. I often say that Belarus' economy is the finishing assembly shop of the Russian economy. Some 60-70% of raw materials and component parts for our mechanical engineering industry and oil processing come from Russia. Therefore, this is our common economy. Supporting us, you support those 35-40 million people (and their families) who work at the Russian companies that supply their products to Belarus. If some people in Russia and Belarus do not understand it, I think they eventually will,” Alexander Lukashenko emphasized.

“Of course, some issues arise every now and then. However, we have always managed to come to terms. I think it is not a big problem for us,” he added.

The head of state noted that during his visit to Russia the parties will be able to discuss not only economy, but also humanitarian matters. For example, humanitarian partnerships will be discussed by respective ministers during their visit to the Sirius education center.

“I appreciate an opportunity to have talks with our counterparts who will come here tomorrow [for a tripartite meeting on Syria of the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey] to discuss important international matters,” the president said.

The Belarusian head of state expressed confidence that the meetings today and in the coming days will greatly benefit Belarus-Russia relations.

The schedule of Alexander Lukashenko's visit to Sochi provides for a leisure opportunity. “Thank you for your invitation. We often get overwhelmed with our problems and cannot see a situation from outside. I agree with you that one can find an hour or two for some rest. I took advantage of this opportunity in the morning. Thank you for preparing the trails. Members of my delegation were also delighted,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

“I feel like home here. As I was travelling along the new road yesterday night I recalled the scary Soviet road that we had driven along before. We used to be afraid to look down. Today it is a totally new resort, a new place. I am glad that Belarus has its home base here. We have two hotels here, villas that are popular with tourists and this business generates profit,” the president noted.

The Belarusian delegation included Deputy Prime Minister Igor Lyashenko, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko, Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Rusy, Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich, Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi and Belarus' Ambassador to Russia Vladimir Semashko. The Russian delegation included First Deputy Prime Minister - Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Deputy Premier Dmitry Kozak, Aide to the President Yuri Ushakov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin and Russian Ambassador to Belarus Mikhail Babich.

Belarus-Russia relations are doing well in all the possible areas, including politics, economy, social matters and culture.

Russia is Belarus' major trading partner. In 2018 the bilateral trade stood at $35.6 billion, up 9% over 2017. Belarus' export to Russia was estimated at $12.9 billion, up 0.4%, Russia's import to Belarus made up $22.6 billion, up 15.4%.