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15 March 2022, 19:58

Belarus interested in advancing interparliamentary cooperation with Switzerland

Natalya Kochanova. An archive photo
Natalya Kochanova. An archive photo

MINSK, 15 March (BelTA) – Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus Natalya Kochanova has met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Switzerland to Belarus Christine Honegger Zolotukhin, BelTA has learned.

Natalya Kochanova told Christine Honegger Zolotukhin: “By starting work in our country, you will see the life of the Belarusian people and what issues are being addressed inside the country. I have no doubt you will objectively evaluate the situation despite the pressure our country is experiencing. You will be able to figure out ongoing processes and will see for yourself that Belarus has always advocated and will advocate peace and accord with all countries, which treat us kindly and are intent on cooperation. I am convinced everything possible will be done for the good relations connecting us to continue and for us to work while supporting each other on matters of current interest for us.”

The head of the upper chamber of the Belarusian parliament stressed that Belarus and Switzerland are connected by old ties. February 2022 marked 30 years since the establishment of Belarus-Switzerland relations. Natalya Kochanova said: “Interparliamentary cooperation is very important for us because members of the parliament are persons, whom people elect. MPs know what is going on in the society. In turn, as members of the Council of the Republic we are deeply immersed in this work, we know about the processes going on in various regions of our republic. People and a fair attitude to them are a state priority. This is why we are ready to comprehensively cooperate with our colleagues from Switzerland.”

Christine Honegger Zolotukhin responded by saying: “I am very glad to be here. I came slightly more than a month ago and intended to talk to totally different people as much as possible in order to get a versatile picture for better understanding. I intend to seek topics, which will be of mutual interest and which we could explore. Apart from that, I am eager to hear you say what you believe is possible on the topics we are interested in and how we as Switzerland can influence something.”

During the meeting Natalya Kochanova and Christine Honegger Zolotukhin discussed the state and prospects of Belarus-Switzerland cooperation in politics, trade and economy, investments, humanitarian affairs, and other areas. They noted the two countries have a good potential for cooperation. Apart from that, Natalya Kochanova and Christine Honegger Zolotukhin reaffirmed commitment to advancing interparliamentary cooperation.

Belarus-Switzerland trade, investment, and credit cooperation demonstrated positive dynamics in the last few years. In 2021 Belarus' top exports to Switzerland included specific goods, including automobile bodies, electric transformers, goods made of stone and other mineral substances, fiberboards, nails and tacks made of ferrous metals.

The protocol on establishing diplomatic relations between the Republic of Belarus and the Swiss Confederation was signed on 10 February 1992 through an exchange of letters of the ministers of foreign affairs. A Belarusian embassy started working in Switzerland in 1993. The Swiss embassy in Belarus was officially opened on 13 February 2020.

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