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Opinions & Interviews

15 Feb 2015

Latushko: Minsk summit will have a positive impact on Belarus-France relations

Latushko: Minsk summit will have a positive impact on Belarus-France relations

MINSK, 16 February (BelTA) - The Minsk summit will have a positive impact on the bilateral relations between Belarus and France, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to France Pavel Latushko said in an interview to the Kartina Mira program on the RTR-Belarus TV channel on 15 February, BelTA has learned.

According to the diplomat, Belarus was not looking to improve its image using the events in the neighboring Ukraine. "It was important for us to help, to become involved in the settlement process which would bring peace to the region. Of course, this will contribute to the image of Belarus. People learn more about us, learn about us as a country that can play a major role in foreign policy,” said the Ambassador.

The visit of the President of France to Belarus, albeit on a multilateral basis, was very important from the point of view of the settlement of the situation, which is important for France, for Belarus and Ukraine, Russia and the whole region, said Pavel Latushko.

The diplomat cited the words of the French President that he appreciates the efforts of the Belarusian President and the country's role in the settlement of the crisis. At Minsk Belarus and France were together with other countries to find a way out of the difficult situation.

Simultaneously with the summit Minsk hosted the First Belarus-France Business Forum which brought together 60 businessmen from ten regions of France. More than 150-200 talks were held with companies, government agencies. The Ambassador expressed the belief that the business forum will help intensify the Belarusian-French relations. "Last year was not bad for us either. For the first time we passed the mark of $100 million in export of Belarusian goods,” he said.

Pavel Latushko noted that the work is underway to develop tools that would help develop the economic relations. This is the establishment of a joint economic and trade commission, the first meeting of which took place on 13 February. A public mechanism has been created; French-Belarusian Business Club has been set up, support financial instruments have been devised. The chambers of commerce are developing contacts; active work is in progress in the regions of the country. An agreement on cooperation in the economy has been signed. We are planning to sign the agreements on investment protection and avoidance of double taxation soon, the Ambassador said.

Speaking about the scope of cooperation, Pavel Latushko named the cooperation in industry, Peugeot Citroen project, a project to start producing attached agricultural implements in Belarus, and the cooperation in the processing of agricultural products.

The Ambassador also named the examples of successful contacts. Accor Group, one of the largest companies in the world, has arrived on the Belarusian market. It is constructing two hotels in Minsk, and this year plans to start building business-class hotels under the Ibis brand in the regions: in Grodno, Brest and Bobruisk. The agreement has been reached between Belmedpreparaty and the Sanofi company on the localization of the production on the territory of Belarus. In addition, negotiations are underway on the supply of Belarusian crystal glass and vodka.

Pavel Latushko also spoke about the projects in culture. For example, a famous French producer proposed to take part in a film project about the legendary Normandie-Niemen Regiment. He added that the extensive Days of Belarusian Culture took place in France last year. The days covered 35 towns in the country, comprised 28 events, and were attended by 150,000 French citizens

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