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28 Mar 2018

Belarus, UK agree on intergovernmental dialogue to boost trade, investments

MINSK, 28 March (BelTA) – Belarus and the UK have agreed to develop an intergovernmental dialogue to step up mutual trade and investments. The agreement was reached during the official visit of Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 27-28 March, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It has been the first visit of the Belarusian foreign minister to the UK since 1993. During the visit Vladimir Makei met with UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson to discuss the prospects of bilateral relations amid the current situation in the European region, including Brexit. The parties emphasized the interest in further development of bilateral relations in all the areas and the advancement of initiatives to ease tensions in the region.

Talks were also held on a wide range of political and economic issues with Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Alan Duncan and Minister of State for International Trade Greg Hands.

A number of documents were signed during thе meetings. These are the memorandum of understanding on trade and economic cooperation, which provides for the establishment of a commercial intergovernmental dialogue to develop greater mutual trade and investment between Belarus and the UK, and the memorandum of understanding on customs cooperation.

At the Palace of Westminster, Vladimir Makei met with the British MPs, members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Belarus. The importance of consolidating positive dynamics in the dialogue between the people’s representatives of both states was noted. At the Kensington Palace, the minister met with a member of the royal family, Prince Michael of Kent, who had previously visited Belarus. The parties exchanged views on the issues of bilateral cooperation in economic and humanitarian fields.

In the City of London, the Belarusian minister of foreign affairs held talks with Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Pierre Heilbronn to discuss a wide range of issues related to the work of this international financial institution in Belarus. The parties considered the progress made in the implementation of the current projects within the framework of the EBRD Strategy for Belarus for 2016–2019. During the meeting with EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti, the sides noted the momentum in operations in Belarus and the expansion of the spheres of cooperation, including through preparation of new projects in transport, energy, banking and financial sectors.

At the EBRD headquarters, a loan agreement was signed on the project for the reconstruction of the P-80 highway (a section of the Minsk Second Ring Road). The implementation of the project will allow completing the construction of the Second Ring Road around Minsk before the start of the European Games MINSK 2019. Taking into account the funds allocated by the bank to finance the project (€42.45 million), the total amount of financial resources provided by the EBRD to Belarus has exceeded €2 billion since 1992.

At the Center for European Reforms, Vladimir Makei took part in the round table “Modern Belarus and its’ place in Europe” with the participation of leading British think tanks (Royal Institute of International Relations, International Institute for Strategic Studies, European Council on Foreign Relations). The minister laid out Belarus’ position on topical issues on the international agenda.

The visit of the Belarusian minister of foreign affairs to the United Kingdom will contribute to the development of bilateral cooperation and have a positive impact on strengthening the regionwide stability. The UK is one of the main trade partners of Belarus. Over last few years, the UK has consistently ranked third among the importers of Belarusian goods.

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