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14 September 2020, 18:18

Lukashenko about Russia: We should maintain tighter cooperation with our elder brother

MINSK, 14 September (BelTA) – Belarus should maintain tighter cooperation with Russia, including economic cooperation, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Russia President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on 14 September, BelTA has learned.

“The economy is the basis for everything. Trust me, we have always pursued this course. Some recent events have shown that we should stay closer to our elder brother and cooperate in all fields, including in economy,” the Belarusian head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that 10 million people in Russia work at enterprises that to a certain extent rely on manufacturing cooperation with Belarusian partners. “Supposing there are on average four members in a family, this number soars to 40 million. This means that the manufacturing cooperation is very tight. You are absolutely right. We will do everything to advance it. Because our whole country basically relies on raw materials, components, materials, and cooperation [with Russia], not to mention markets. Belarus exports 48% of its products to the Russian Federation, it is our main export market,” the Belarusian president said.

He also mentioned his talk with Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “I once asked my friend Viktor Orban about cooperation with other countries, especially in the EU, because of his special position. I think he said that Germany accounted for up to 90% of Hungary's trade. Here is your answer, he told me,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that prior to the presidential election Vladimir Putin and he had decided to take a closer look at the economic relations after the electoral campaign. They agreed that the Russian prime minister and members of the government would come to Minsk for talks. “We did not want to fall into the trap of being stalled by difficult issues again. Yes, Mikhail Mishustin came to Minsk and also met with me. They did a good job regarding all the obvious issues, agreements were reached. We deliberately left some matters to be discussed and addressed at a meeting between the presidents,” the head of state noted.

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Vladimir Putin suggested focusing on it during the talks. “I have certain proposals. It seems to me that additional efforts and steps should be exercised at the level of the governments, ministries, government agencies, and even individual enterprises in order to remove the existing barriers and enable conditions for moving forward,” he stated.
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Aleksandr Lukashenko continued: “First of all, I'd like to thank you. It is natural. Everyone understands it perfectly well. I would like to thank you not only for our honoring the treaties. It is natural. You've acted very decently and humanly.”
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Russia views Belarus as its closest ally and will fulfill all of its commitments, Russia President Vladimir Putin said as he met with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Sochi on 14 September.
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“We have agreed to give Belarus a $1.5 billion state loan in this difficult period. And we will do it. As far as I now, our finance ministers are already working on this,” Vladimir Putin said.
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The Russian leader said: “We are in favor of allowing Belarusians to resolve the situation on their own, without any prompts and pressure from the outside, in a calm manner and via a dialogue with each other in order to work out a common decision on how you should proceed.”
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Aleksandr Lukashenko noted: “As for defense, you and I are military men and we've always followed the same tactics. I may have put it rather bluntly in front of Russian reporters the other day: we can quarrel and argue about any matters but we've never argued and have never been in doubt about defense and security."
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Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “As for the coronavirus, I am grateful to you. We appreciate deeply the fact that Belarus is the first country to receive your vaccine [the sides previously agreed that Belarus will be the first country to receive the vaccine Russia develops]."

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