MINSK, 16 May (BelTA) - Belarus has renewed its focus on cooperation with the friendly countries in the East, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said in an interview with Al Arabiya TV channel, BelTA has learned.
"I would not call it a pivot to the East. It is more about renewing our focus on cooperation with the countries that work with us based on mutual respect, benefits, partnership, without imposing any paradigms of thinking, models of behavior or lecturing us about our domestic policy, where we are respected as a partner," Roman Golovchenko said.
Belarus has always tried to maintain equal and fairly symmetrical relations with all countries, the prime minister stressed. Reorientation to the East is not a forced measure in response to the pressure from the West, as many try to present it. It is more about making up for our under-performance in the East. For Belarus, with its open, export-oriented economy, stepping up work in all regions of Asia, Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and South America is of great importance in the current conditions. These are all countries that we view as friendly," he said.
According to him, Belarus has long been developing relations with all countries of the Middle East. “Belarus maintains friendly relations with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain. The Belarusian president has visited the UAE several times, had very friendly meetings with the leadership of the country and discussed prospects of our work and cooperation,” Roman Golovchenko said.
Belarus is gradually increasing its supplies to the UAE. “Expo Dubai was a success, and Belarus was one of its most active participants. The Belarusian pavilion drew more than 1 million visitors and signed contracts worth about $500 million. Our exports now include new commodities - wood, cellulose, and batteries. For us the UAE is primarily an export hub. This country offers excellent conditions for doing business, for trade in the region. Today our exporters use logistical and financial opportunities of Dubai and other emirates for trade,” the Belarusian head of government said.
“The UAE has eyed the investment potential of Belarus for a long time. Several very significant investment projects are underway here and we are proud of it. I am convinced that if the political situation in the European region did not turn for the worse, the flow of Emirati investments would have been even greater. We are not losing optimism however and are confident that the situation will stabilize and we will reap new fruits of our cooperation,” the prime minister added.