MINSK, 5 September (BelTA) – Belarus starts cooperation with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with a clean slate and is committed to building exemplary relations, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with AIIB President Jin Liqun on 5 September, BelTA informs.
“We open a new page in our relations, and this page is clean. There is nothing positive on this page as we are only taking our first steps, and, fortunately, there is nothing bad,” the head of state said. “We are committed to building such relations which will be an example for others.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked Jin Liqun for the readiness of the bank to work with Belarus and to invest in the infrastructure of the country. “You know that Belarus is the center of Europe, a transit country, and well-developed infrastructure, first of all, a good road network, is very important for us,” he added.
Belarus becomes an important destination in view of developing ties between the Pacific Rim, China and Western Europe. “We already have certain plans regarding automobile and railway transportation, commercial activities. And we believe it will strengthen your interest in Belarus,” the head of state is convinced. “Huge European, World Bank and our own funds have been allocated for the development of the road network in the country. Belarus has become a very popular destination, especially due to the events in Ukraine, the Baltic region.”
“I know that you pay much attention to urban development and the energy sector. These areas are very important for Belarus as well. We will submit projects to your bank. If you decide to participate in the projects, we will be grateful to you. The terms of the AIIB are as good as the terms of international banks,” the head of state said.
Speaking about promising cooperation avenues in the short run, the president mentioned, first of all, the development of the road network, and especially the construction of the Lepel-Polotsk road in the north and the Gomel-Brest road in the south. “I have a dream to build these two roads in the near future,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.
“You bank is ready to support the Lepel-Polotsk road project. We are ready to discuss crediting terms. As for the second road, if you are interested, we are also ready to discuss things and choose the best option,” the head of state added.
“I know that you also want (and we support that) to invest in the infrastructure of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park Great Stone,” he continued. There are great prospects for cooperation in the energy sector, water disposal, renovation of residential buildings. “There are many issues, and we need to address them as soon as possible. If you support us in this undertaking, we will be grateful to you, and we are ready to cooperate in these fields,” the Belarusian leader concluded. “I am convinced that you, Mr. Liqun, know Belarus very well, but it would be great if you learned even more about the modern country and made certain conclusions about our future cooperation.”
Jin Liqun, in turn, remarked that the meeting with the Belarusian president is a great honor for him. “In our bank we know about your personal contribution to the decision to join our bank. We are grateful to you for the opportunity to take part in the development of the Belarusian infrastructure. Since the approval of Belarus' membership in our bank, we feel support and are grateful for it. In the last two days we had many meetings with the Council of Ministers, representatives of banks, including the Development Bank, and I was impressed by people's eagerness to do their best for the development of the country,” he said.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was founded in 2014. Its main objective is to overcome infrastructure restrictions for economic development in Asia and other regions. The authorized capital is $100 billion, it is divided into 1 million shares with a nominal value of $100,000 each. The number of participants and applicants for participation has reached 100 countries. Regional shareholders possess 75% of the capital, non-regional ones - 25%. Major AIIB shareholders are China, India and Russia with 29.78%, 8,37% and 6.54% of the capital respectively. Belarus has been a non-regional member of the bank since 17 January 2019.
The bank has prepared programs to sponsor 64 projects to the tune of $9 billion in the period from 2019 till 2021. Till 2021, the quota of financing for non-regional members will make up about 15%.