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25 Jul 2019

Makei: Belarus, Latvia well positioned to raise relations to higher level

Makei: Belarus, Latvia well positioned to raise relations to higher level

MINSK, 25 July (BelTA) - Belarus believes that the bilateral relations with Latvia have great potential. Belaurs views Latvia as an important trading and economic partner and assistant in addressing major issues of the Belarusian-European relations, Belarus Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei told the media following the meeting with Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevics in Minsk, BelTA has learned.

On 24-26 July Minsk is hosting Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevics on a working visit. The foreign ministers of the two countries discussed the whole range of Belarusian-Latvian relations and development prospects, growth points. Interaction in the international organizations, cooperation of Belarus with the European Union were also on the agenda. Cooperation in economy, politics, science,  humanitarian and environmental matters, productive interregional and interpersonal contacts are at the heart of the countries’ shared interests, Vladimir Makei stressed.

“For Belarus Latvia is traditionally an important trading and economic partner. This country is one of the ten major markets for Belarusian exports. We have thoroughly examined the future prospects for our trade and economic interaction, specific projects,” Vladimir Makei said. He stressed that the potential for development and implementation of major joint projects is big. First of all the matter is about the projects to build the transit and logistics capacities of the two countries. Promising is the development of new technologies and innovations, joint work within the framework of the Chinese New Silk Road initiative.

“There is a proposal to our president to visit Latvia. It has been accepted; we are yet to agree on acceptable dates. The visit should be carefully prepared so that we can discuss and approve concrete projects,” Vladimir Makei said.

The Belarusian minister highlighted Latvia's role in the dialogue of Belarus with the European Union, in particular as regards the removal of sanctions. “We do not seek EU membership but we want to be good neighbors, to develop normal trade and economic contacts with the European Union. We hope our Latvian friends will support us in other key issues of the Belarusian-European relations, including the signing of the partnership priorities. Belarus and Latvia hold similar views on the Eastern Partnership which has turned ten. We believe that it is a needed and useful project which should continue beyond 2020

He also highlighted cooperation in strengthening overall security in the Baltic Sea region.

The parties discussed humanitarian cooperation. The Riga Belarusian School Named After Yanka Kupala was opened in 1994. This is Latvia’s only educational institution that teaches the Belarusian language and literature. The school has 170 students. Vladimir Makei expressed gratitude to Latvia for the decision on state accreditation of the school.

Vladimir Makei described the talks with his Latvian counterpart as open and fruitful. “Our meetings have become regular. This is evidence of the positive momentum in the Belarusian-Latvian dialogue. Moreover, there is mutual interest in raising bilateral cooperation to a higher level. We have no disagreements in bilateral relations. We are on the same page as for the majority of international issues. Today we touched upon every topic, including those of mutual interest. It is very important to support dialogue so as to be able to find mutually acceptable solutions. I am confident that our countries will maintain good neighborly, partner and mutually beneficial relations, which meets the logic taking into account the geographical position, shared history, culture and traditions, mutual interest in the realization of the potential of bilateral cooperation,” Vladimir Makei said.

For his part, Edgars Rinkevics emphasized an active dialogue between the ministries. “I think that our colleagues, ministers who meet in Riga and Minsk to discuss cooperation in transport, land management, and economic sector, can boast good results of their work,” he said.

The Latvian minister of foreign affairs echoed the opinion of Vladimir Makei regarding the relations between the EU and Belarus. “The bilateral relations have been recently improving. I can say that we should work further to strengthen these relations in the political and economic dimensions. The fact that we discuss every issue openly and constructively is encouraging,” Edgars Rinkevics said. 

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