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Opinions & Interviews

13 Nov 2018

Lukashenko: Belarus’ ambassador to Russia should have extraordinary powers

Lukashenko: Belarus’ ambassador to Russia should have extraordinary powers

MINSK, 13 November (BelTA) – Belarus’ ambassador to Russia should be vested with extraordinary powers, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he appointed Vladimir Semashko head of the Belarusian diplomatic mission in Russia on 13 November, BelTA has learned.

“We need to have another look at the scope of authority of the ambassador to the Russian Federation. I understand that he has enough powers. No need to explain what Russia means to us in terms of trade, economy, and culture, humanitarian and human contacts. We discussed these issues earlier. He should wield special powers; he should have access to the president anytime to discuss matters concerning our relations with the Russian Federation. He should not get overwhelmed with our bureaucracy. What should be done and what is needed to this end? He will start working and put forward proposals on what should be done to be able to exercise his powers to the full extent,” the head of state said.

“If you have questions, issues, or suggestions, just make a call, come here and meet me to discuss them. I don’t think that there should be any barriers on the way,” Alexander Lukashenko said addressing Vladimir Semashko.

The president noted that he had discussed Vladimir Semashko’s nomination with the Russian president. “I let Putin know about it beforehand. We discussed in detail the nomination of Vladimir Semashko. The Russian president smiled and said that Vladimir Semashko is welcome in Moscow and that they know him well. In other words, the response was very positive,” Alexander Lukashenko shared details of his conversation with the Russian president.

The head of state outlined the tasks facing the new Belarusian ambassador to Russia. The biggest challenge is to reduce the substantial trade deficit. “If we fail to fulfill this task, what kind of relations will Belarus and Russia have? We cannot go on neglecting this $7 billion or something deficit in bilateral trade,” he said.

Vladimir Semashko believes that this matter should be approached from two perspectives. At first, it is necessary to minimize the cost of energy as part of the agreements in the integration associations. Second, Belarus should boost the export of various products to the Russian market.

Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei noted that everything is in place to increase exports to Russia, including supplies of much-needed agricultural and machinery products that are often imported by Russia from faraway countries. “Therefore, there is something to discuss here,” he said.

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