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Opinions & Interviews

13 Nov 2018

New Belarus’ ambassador to Russia makes first statements

New Belarus’ ambassador to Russia makes first statements

MINSK, 13 November (BelTA) – Belarus’ Ambassador to Russia Vladimir Semashko laid out priority objectives facing him in his new position as he answered a question of a BelTA journalist on 13 November.

“When the president approached me with this job offer, I said that I would accept it, because I cannot imagine myself without work. I just cannot live in a different way,” the ambassador said.

Speaking about Belarus-Russia relations, he emphasized that Russia has been and will be Belarus’ major trade and economic partner. “It was determined by history. We are neighbors; we have a similar mindset and common history. You know very well that we do not have such a significant trade with any other country. Trade with Russia might hit $35 billion this year,” Vladimir Semashko said.

At the same time, he pointed to a big trade deficit and the fact that export is outpaced by import. Apart from that, Russia’s tax maneuver in the oil sector has a direct impact on Belarus’ economic interests. Belarus’ food supplies to Russia are obstructed every now and then.

“The deficit in trade with Russia is a real economic problem today. The economy would have been in a better shape but for it. This problem should be addressed by the government and the embassy,” Vladimir Semashko stressed.

He believes that this issue can be approached from both ends. Firstly, the purchase of energy can be made cheaper. There are prerequisites for this, given the allied relations between the two states. “The EAEU documents suggest establishing a common market of electricity, oil and gas,” the ambassador said.

Vladimir Semashko believes that it is important to create truly equal economic conditions for economic entities and people in the Union State.

Secondly, the deficit in trade with Russia can be reduced by means of increasing supplies of Belarusian goods to the Russian market, Vladimir Semashko continued.

Another challenge is connected with the BelNPP construction project as Belarus seeks to reach an agreement to revise the rates and terms of the relevant loan.

“These issues cannot be solved overnight. Everything should be done properly and in a peaceful manner. I think sooner or later, these problems will be solved,” added the ambassador.

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