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Opinions & Interviews

22 May 2018

Lukashenko unhappy with Belarus’ lack of engagement with Scandinavian countries

Lukashenko unhappy with Belarus’ lack of engagement with Scandinavian countries

MINSK, 22 May (BelTA) – The level of contacts between Belarus and Scandinavian countries is unreasonably low, Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko said as he appointed heads of diplomatic missions, BelTA has learnt.

In particular, the Belarusian head of state appointed Dmitry Mironchik Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Sweden; Alexander Lukashevich Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Bulgaria and concurrently to Greece and Cyprus, and Vyacheslav Kachanov Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Estonia.

“Both Estonia and Bulgaria are no strangers to us. They have warm regard for us; people there know and understand Belarus. It will be a bit harder in Sweden. However, they have started opening to Belarus a little bit already. This trend will gain traction. However, our level of contacts with Scandinavian countries is unjustifiably low, though we can learn a lot from them - from Finland, Sweden, Norway – including in woodworking and hockey which is the topic of the day,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The president stated that the newly-appointed ambassadors to these countries will have a lot of work ahead. “Sweden is a very important country for us. It does not matter that some politicians there have become politicized. Things happen. However, we need to build contacts with them. You know that a trade surplus is a must. That is something we should strive for. Everything will be fine if economic relations are good,” the head of state noted.

Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei reported that Belarus’ trade with Estonia, just like with Bulgaria, exceeds $100 million. He believes that this is not the limit. “We have a trade surplus with these countries. Our current challenge is to build momentum,” he noted.

According to Vladimir Makei, Belarus can expand cooperation with Sweden. “However, we need to make big efforts to do that. There was no Belarusian ambassador to this country for some time because of well-known political issues. However, we still believe that there are good opportunities for cooperation there,” he noted.

The president appointed Vladimir Astapenko non-resident Ambassador of Belarus to Chile. Belarus’ Ambassador to Indonesia and concurrently to Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines Valery Kolesnik was appointed non-resident Permanent Representative of the Republic of Belarus at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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