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Lukashenko: Colossal demand for stronger friendship in Belarus, Ukraine

GOMEL (BelTA) – There is a colossal demand in Belarus and Ukraine for stronger friendship and good-neighborliness, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said at the plenary session of the 1st Forum of Regions of Ukraine and Belarus in Gomel on 26 October, BelTA has learned.

“A representative list of regions from the two countries taking part in the forum shows that there is a colossal demand in Belarus and Ukraine for the further development of relations and strengthening of traditions of friendship and good-neighborliness. They are based on shared spiritual and moral values, smilar mentality of our fraternal peoples,” Alexander Lukashenko noted.

The president stressed that there are no unsolvable problems in relations between the two countries. Minsk and Kiev have always found mutually acceptable solutions.

“Together with my Ukrainian counterpart we discussed all the topical areas of cooperation that require our attention. There was not a single issue which we had not talked over. I think that following these talks necessary highlights will be made across all issues that are of interest to us. I would emphasize that the Belarusian-Ukrainian dialogue at the highest level is sincere and trust-based. We can discuss any, sometimes very complex topics in a constructive atmosphere,” the head of state said.

Alexander Lukashenko noted that all the agreements reached with the Ukrainian side are executed. For that the countries have involved the entire set of instruments, including the work at the level of deputy prime ministers - the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation.

“I am convinced that the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations largely depend on the results of interaction at the interregional level. That is why today's forum will become a convenient platform to discuss all relevant areas of cooperation,” the president added.

The head of state noted that Belarus has been developing interregional cooperation with many countries, including Russia and China. “Cooperation between states and nations will never die out if it rests on regions. We have started a great thing here. This is the foundation for our relations,” he said.

Alexander Lukashenko stated that Ukraine is not only a good friend and a neighbor for Belarus but also one of its key political, trade and economic partners.

Belarus-Ukraine trade has been steadily expanding in recent years. In 2017, the bilateral trade was $4.5 billion, up 20% over 2016. This year, both the Belarusian export and import from Ukraine have been on the rise.

“I am confident that we can do much more. The potential of Belarus and Ukraine makes it possible to implement the most complex and large-scale projects in various sectors of the economy. We agreed with the president to continue working towards reaching $8 billion and later $10 billion in mutual trade,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

The Belarusian president outlined agriculture, petrochemical and engineering industries, humanitarian and sci-tech sectors as the most promising areas of interregional cooperation for Belarus and Ukraine.