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Opinions & Interviews

11 Jul 2017

Lukashenko on Belt and Road initiative: We should seize the historic chance

Lukashenko on Belt and Road initiative: We should seize the historic chance

MINSK, 11 July (BelTA) – Belarus should use the historic chance in terms of active participation in China’s Belt and Road initiative, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting to discuss Belarus’ foreign policy priorities at the current stage on 11 July, BelTA has learned.

The Belarusian leader said that the current high level of trust-based all-round strategic partnership and mutually beneficial cooperation with China requires increased attention to the implementation of bilateral projects and the interaction in large international associations. “This is of particular relevance to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative. Belarus should seize the historic chance and become an important transit, logistics, production, and technology hub of this new transcontinental integration project,” Alexander Lukashenko emphasized.

The head of state believes that the industrial park Great Stone, which Xi Jinping named as ‘the pearl of the Silk Road Economic Belt, should become an effective tool. “It should be used to attract cutting-edge technologies and advanced manufacturing companies from around the world. I stress: from all over the world, not just China! The conditions for this have been created. We do need warehouses there. We need state-of-the-art technologies that will help us make products of tomorrow. We should make sure that the park becomes home to the most advanced enterprises from around the world,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed.

“I expect concrete results from the heads of our missions abroad. I want you to team up with the management company and the administration of the park to find and bring large investors,” the president added.

He said that South Asia, a massive market with a capacity of almost two billion people, can and should be used as a springboard to the distant-arc countries. “The countries of the region have been demonstrating sustainable economic growth for the past several years. They are actively upgrading their industrial facilities and agriculture, implementing large-scale projects in road-building, transport, resource production, and energy infrastructure. All this generates a natural demand for Belarusian goods and services. It is high time to turn the well-developed political dialogue with such leading countries of the region as India, Iran, and Pakistan, into economic dividends,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian leader noted that he maintains good relations with the leadership of India and Pakistan. The countries have great interest in strengthening cooperation with Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko added. “Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will visit Belarus in less than a month. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies should prepare for the visit in the most responsible way to fill the cooperation with concrete projects,” the president said.

He pointed out that the agreement on a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and Vietnam that has already come into force is a reason to consider this country as a bridgehead for promoting Belarus’ national interests in ASEAN countries. “The visit of the Vietnamese president and our agreements to raise our trade to $500 million – this task should be fully fulfilled,” Alexander Lukashenko emphasized.

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