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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has sent greetings to Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Crowned Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as the country celebrates National Day, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian leader.

The head of state emphasized the interest in expanding comprehensive cooperation. “I am convinced that there is a considerable potential for the development of Belarus-Kuwait relations which we can jointly realize for the sake of prosperity of both states, security and further progress,” the message of

On behalf of Belarusian people and himself President Aleksandr Lukashenko has extended birthday greetings to Emperor Naruhito of Japan, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian leader.

The head of state noted that bilateral cooperation has great potential, in particular in trade, manufacturing, investment and technology. People of the two countries can discover the beauty and diversity of Belarus and Japan through cooperation in sport, culture and tourism.

“I am confident that with your support the friendship and multifaceted contacts between Minsk and Tokyo will keep growing stronger,” the president noted.

Belarus remains greatly interested in direct contacts with Russian regions, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Governor of Arkhangelsk Oblast of Russia Igor Orlov on 21 February, BelTA has learned.

“We remain deeply interested in direct contacts with Russian regions,” the head of state said.

In 2019, Belarus-Arkhangelsk Oblast trade totaled $45.8 million. Belarus' exports to the Russian region reached $22.9 million. The imports made up the same. Belarus' main exports included beef and poultry, concrete, cement and artificial stone products, sugar, vehicles, spare parts and other goods. Belarus purchased paper, cardboard, ferrous scrap, wood pulp and wool from Arkhangelsk Oblast.

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has sent greetings to the staff of the Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno as it marks its 80th anniversary, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian leader.

The success of the university is attributed to the team's efforts to preserve the best traditions of Belarusian education, constant improvement and novel approaches, the head of state noted.

“Today the university is by right called one of the country's best higher learning institutions. It is a regional hub for research, innovations and creativity. Its high status and good international standing are due to professional achievements of many generations of graduates,” the message reads.

The president expressed confidence that professional excellence and dedication of the staff, talent and thirst for knowledge of students will always serve the strategic goals of the country, namely the intellectual growth of the nation, training of specialists with a strategic mindset and determination to work for the benefit of Belarus.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020 11:05

Lukashenko off to Egypt on official visit

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko is heading to Egypt on an official visit. The plane with the Belarusian head of state onboard has departed Minsk National Airport, BelTA has learned.

On 19 February, Aleksandr Lukashenko will hold talks with Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo. The heads of state will review progress in implementing the agreements reached during the visit of the Egyptian leader to Minsk in summer 2019, as well as cooperation prospects in trade, economy and humanitarian affairs. The presidents will also discuss cooperation on the international arena, regional and global security. The talks are expected to result in a package of bilateral documents.

Aleksandr Lukashenko is set to have a series of meetings. Together with his Egyptian counterpart he will go on a tour to Egypt's new administrative capital located 45km to the east of Cairo. The facility will be hosting an exhibition of Belarusian-Egyptian research projects, advanced technology, high-tech products and large-size equipment.

A session of the Belarus-Egypt Business Cooperation Council will be held on the sidelines of the visit.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020 10:32

Lukashenko to visit Egypt on 19-20 February

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko will pay an official visit to Egypt on 19-20 February, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian leader.

In Cairo Aleksandr Lukashenko will hold talks with Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The heads of state will review progress in implementing the agreements reached during the visit of the Egyptian leader to Minsk in the summer of 2019, as well as cooperation prospects in trade, economy and humanitarian affairs.

“The presidents will discuss cooperation on the international arena, regional and global security. The talks are expected to result in a package of bilateral documents,” the press service noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko is set to have a series of meetings. Together with his Egyptian counterpart he will go on a tour to Egypt's new administrative capital located 45km to the east of Cairo.

A session of the Belarus-Egypt Business Cooperation Council will be held on the sidelines of the visit.

The number of challenges and threats on the Belarusian border is not reduced year after year, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he approved the resolution concerning the protection of the state border in 2020 on 17 February, BelTA informs. Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that border security is a priority of the state policy. 

Therefore, the resolution on the protection of the state border is approved by the president every year. “Unfortunately, the number of challenges and threats on the Belarusian border is not reduced year after year,” the head of state said. In his words, flows of illegal migration, drug trafficking and other criminal activities are increasing. 

“There is an escalation of military activities on the other side of our border. Belarus has never threatened anyone and will never threaten anyone in the sphere of the economy or the military sphere,” the president said. “Speaking about the economy, I mean recent statements and an avalanche of criticism towards Belarus from Russia. They say that we allegedly threaten either to stop the delivery of oil to the west or to take oil from the transit pipeline for our oil refineries.”  

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that an agreement on the delivery of 24 million tonnes of oil had been officially approved between Belarus and Russia. That's all,“ he said. Last year the president made a decision to increase staff numbers at border protection agencies in order to make them more efficient, set up new border outposts and battle-ready maneuver groups which had ceased to exist after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. 

Such divisions should be effectively deployed for border protection and have cutting-edge equipment for the prompt resolution of emerging issues in various conditions, the head of state remarked. Aleksandr Lukashenko also asked Chairman of the State Border Committee Anatoly Lappo to tell him how the agency was going to improve working and living conditions of border guards and their families. “What do we have to do today and tomorrow to raise the efficiency of border troops?” the president asked.

The new bleached sulfate pulp plant based on Svetlogorsk Pulp and Board Mill should strive for a new development stage. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement as he visited the enterprise on 14 February, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “We need deep conversion of the pulp. We need to use the pulp to make appropriate packaging materials and sacks.”

The head of state reminded about the standing instruction to reduce the use of environmentally unfriendly plastic as much as possible: “This is why we have to stop using plastic. Everything – pastry, buns, and the rest – should be wrapped in paper. We have a lot of it. But this pulp should be used to create proper packaging and other materials.”

The president mentioned he had decided in favor of buying the necessary equipment and building a manufacturing division next to the plant this year at the latest. “It won't be cheap. It may cost €80 million. But we will go for it. We will place machine and will process pulp here. In this manner we will process 300,000-350,000 tonnes out of the 400,000 tonnes of pulp you will make here and will ship to our enterprises. We will have 50,000 tonnes left for export,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned the production of viscose pulp as another business avenue that should also be promptly explored. “This enterprise can do it. You will need asp and alder, of which we have plenty these days. This kind of wood just rots without use. This is why we have to hurry up and process it here,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

The head of state remarked that viscose pulp will be in demand at a neighboring enterprise in Svetlogorsk. This raw material has to be imported for now.

“In other words, everything you make here today can be sold at a solid profit. It is normal. You will have to repay the loan you've taken and pay off the state budget,” the head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed the importance of deep conversion of raw materials and the manufacturing of ready-made products that sell well. “It is a totally new level for our country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

In his words, he came to visit the enterprise in order to make sure how the instructions to build a new enterprise had been fulfilled.

Speaking about past problems of cooperation with the Chinese company CAMCE in the course of building the enterprise, Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke in positive terms about the fact that Belarusian specialists had managed to independently commission the enterprise in the end. “Well done. I am grateful! It is the second goal of my arrival – to thank you for making this enterprise yourselves and making good products now after getting rid of the careless contractor,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.

Belarus is ready to provide the most favorable investment conditions to Swiss business, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Ignazio Cassis 13 February, BelTA has learned.

Welcoming the foreign guest, the head of state remarked that Belarus is often called Eastern Switzerland. “I am not against this definition at all. Switzerland has achieved this favorable status worldwide thanks to its policy, immanent neutrality and exceptional honesty in relations with other states,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “However, there are certain differences. Belarus is a plain country covered with forests, rivers and lakes. One of the most attractive things for people in Switzerland is the availability of mountain resorts. Your country is a beauty with its mountains. Unfortunately, there are no such landscapes in Belarus.”

The president remarked that Belarus and Switzerland have always had good and kind relations. “But I think we still have room for progress, especially in our trade and economic relations. The economy is the main thing. We are ready to provide the most favorable investment conditions to Swiss business,” he stressed.

As a positive example of interaction between the two countries, Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned a decision to appoint the ambassador of Switzerland to Belarus and to open the Swiss embassy in Minsk. “This will be a good step in bolstering our cooperation,” the head of state said. “Your visit is very important and timely. And I am convinced that it will give an impetus to the enhancement of our cooperation.”

Political contacts between the two countries have been increasingly vibrant. In 2017, the first parliamentary group of friendship with Belarus was founded in the Federal Assembly of Switzerland. Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Vladimir Andreichenko visited Switzerland in 2018. The first deputy prime minister of Belarus and the chairman of the board of the National Bank visited Switzerland in 2019.

In May 2019, the Federal Council of Switzerland decided to raise the level of diplomatic service in Belarus. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Switzerland to Belarus Claude Altermatt presented credentials to the Belarusian head of state in September. The embassy of Switzerland will open in Minsk on 13 February.

As far as the trade and economic cooperation is concerned, a record increase in Belarus' export of goods and services, investment raising has been posted in recent years.

In 2019, Belarus-Switzerland trade reached $258.2 million and exceeded the level of 2018 by 38%. Belarus' export went up 34.7% to $40 million, import soared by almost 40% to exceed $218 million. Specific goods, car bodies, products from stone and other minerals, vegetables were among Belarus' major export items. Switzerland delivered electric transformers, rolling stock details, medications and medical equipment, base metal products to Belarus. Equipment for the modernization of the Belarusian manufacturing industry accounted for a major part of the import.

Switzerland is one of the top ten consumers of Belarusian services, especially transport, computer, telecom and information ones. It is noteworthy that the trade in services with this country is bigger than the trade in goods. The export of services to Switzerland increased by 30.5% to $180 million in January-November 2019.

Switzerland is also one of the top five investors in Belarus in terms of foreign direct investments on a net basis ($41 million in January-September 2019). There are 103 organizations with Swiss investments, including 37 joint ventures and 66 foreign companies, 39 representative offices, in Belarus.

Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Mikhail Myasnikovich met with Cyril Muller, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, on 11 February, BelTA learned from the press service of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

The parties discussed promising avenues of cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the World Bank, the participation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in China's Belt and Road initiative, and a possibility to introduce a common product traceability system in the union.

Mikhail Myasnikovich noted that the World Bank cooperates with all the members of the Eurasian Economic Union in the bilateral format, however a more vigorous cooperation with the union as such could generate much more economic benefits. He suggested recalibrating the cooperation format in order to implement infrastructure projects at the scale of the entire Eurasian Economic Union. “These projects should be very attractive and should encourage the countries to get involved,” Mikhail Myasnikovich noted.

“The parties agreed on new approaches to cooperation and on implementation of joint projects to promote the economies of the EAEU member states,” the press service informed.