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Lukashenko: Belarus seeks to expand economic contacts with Hungary

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus is ready to promote comprehensive trade and economic cooperation with Hungary, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto on 14 January, BelTA has learned.

“Of course, we trade with each other and this trade hovers around $180-200 million depending on a year. However, let us be frank. This figure is minuscule taking into account our capacities and the way our economies used to cooperate in the past. This is just the beginning. We are ready to promote our trade and economic cooperation in all the areas,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The president noted that it is necessary to take into account Belarus' membership in the Eurasian Economic Union, the country's good relations with China and participation in the Belt and Road Initiative. “A train [cargo rail service] is already running between China and Europe; logistics has been put in place. We are ready to represent your interests here. At the same time we count on your support in the European Union of which you are a member with an independent stance. The combination of these interests will give a bigger impetus to trade and economic cooperation between the two states,” the head of state is convinced.

Alexander Lukashenko added that Hungary and Belarus are promoting cooperation across many areas; there are joint projects in mechanical engineering, pharmaceutics, construction, finances. “We have many cooperation opportunities. You want (which is right) to resume production of Ikarus buses that I like so much. We can support you virtually for nothing, because you have gone a very long way in the manufacturing of such buses. We know what we can learn from Hungary and we are learning,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The head of state thanked Hungary for its contribution to the Belarus-EU rapprochement. “We know about it. We really appreciate it. This is one of the cornerstones of our relations,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

Located in Central Europe, Hungary is in favor of closer cooperation between the West and East, Peter Szijjarto underlined. “We have chosen this policy not because this benefits Russia or the United States, but because this is in the interests of Hungarian people. We want to join efforts with everyone who seeks to promote cooperation between the West and East. Therefore, we are working on closer ties between Belarus and the European Union,” he said.