MINSK, 16 July (BelTA) - Bogota is an important promising partner of Minsk in promoting cooperation with Latin American countries, Valery Mitskevich, Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, said during a meeting with Carlos German Navas Talero, Vice President of the Chamber of Representatives of the Congress of Colombia, BelTA has learned.
“Latin America countries are a long distance from us geographically, but have always been close to us in spirit. Your country, whose foreign political and economic clout has been continuously growing, is no exception. Bogota is an important promising partner of Minsk in promoting cooperation with Latin American countries, primarily with the states of the Pacific Alliance. I would like to take this opportunity and thank Colombia for supporting Belarus in obtaining observer status in the Pacific Alliance," Valery Mitskevich said.
According to him, there are no issues between the two countries. "Accordingly, we have a very great potential for stepping up cooperation. We appreciate the support of Colombia in international organizations, especially when we have to deal with all sorts of accusations based on the unreliable data. I am talking about interaction in the UN and ICAO. We are prepared to foster closer cooperation in multilateral inter-parliamentary organizations: the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Latin American Parliament,” Valery Mitskevich noted. “Friendship groups are a good tool to develop and maintain inter-parliamentary dialogue. I believe it is time we draw up a roadmap to promote Belarusian-Colombian cooperation in various fields and to conclude an agreement on inter-parliamentary cooperation in the future."
Valery Mitskevich stressed that trade is a good indicator to assess bilateral relations. “In 2020, Belarus-Colombia trade tripled over 2015. Of course, the total sum of $89 million might not look very impressive, but we can join efforts to do better. Belarus can help Colombia with geological exploration and mining and can also supply high-capacity mining equipment. Belarusian goods and services are known for their high quality. When you visit BelAZ, you will see this for yourselves. There is a high demand for Colombian coffee in the Belarusian market and we are eager to buy it from you,” he noted.
Unfortunately, there is no interregional cooperation between Belarus and Colombia. “It could be very effective. I believe that MPs of the two countries should look into this matter to give an impetus to interregional ties. The Belarus-Colombia agreement to waive visas for holders of diplomatic and service passports took effect in January 2020. That was a great step forward. Of course, we also hope to sign an agreement to waive visas for holders of ordinary passports going on short trips. Work is underway to finalize the draft memorandum of understanding between their culture ministries. As far as I know, both the parties are ready to sign this document,” Valery Mitskevich stressed. “We believe that education is another promising cooperation area. Belarus has a well-developed education system, enrolling students from more than 100 countries. We hope that Colombian citizens will also be able to study in Belarus. Our medical education is especially popular. There are research centers in almost all fields of medicine in the country. Of course, we are ready to cooperate in all areas that will benefit both our countries,” he added.
“I would like to stress that I am a long-serving member of the Chamber of Representatives of the Congress of Colombia. This is my sixth mandate. I am serving as a vice president of the Chamber of Representatives for the second time,” Carlos German Navas Talero pointed out. “I can assure you that we will do our best to advance cooperation with Belarus,” he added.