MINSK, 20 March (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has met with Head of the Republic of Kalmykia of Russia Batu Khasikov, BelTA has learned.
Welcoming the guest, the Belarusian head of state noted that it was great pleasure for him to see the head of the Russian region at the Palace of Independence: “We appreciate that you come to Belarus and learn more about our country. It is very important for us.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that despite the distance, Belarus and Kalmykia have common history and values. “Our ancestors jointly defended the legacy of the October Revolution, won a Great Victory in the fight against fascism, rebuilt the country from scratch showing extraordinarily hard work and dedication. We were raised to create, not to break,” the Belarusian leader said. “This unites us, makes us stronger in the face of all kinds of challenges,” he added.
According to the president, contacts with Kalmykia are gaining momentum. An additional impetus to this was given by the exchange of visits in September 2022, by meetings and negotiations. “Yet, I am sure that a real economic breakthrough is still ahead,” the Belarusian leader said. “Using sports terminology, I would say that our current trade is not even the first attempt, but actually a warm-up before this first attempt.”
“We have a lot of products that might be of interest to your region - mechanical engineering products, construction products, IT, pharmaceuticals and high-tech transport,” the Belarusian leader continued. “In today's conditions, we can offer a good product in terms of price/quality ratio. Our products have long been popular in many regions of Russia. I am sure that people from your region are also well familiar with them,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
At the same time, Belarus believes that it is high time to move from occasional trade deals to long-term contracts, to build repair facilities and spare parts warehouses, and strengthen industrial cooperation, the president noted.
In addition to agricultural machinery, trucks and passenger vehicles, Aleksandr Lukashenko advised the head of Kalmykia to pay attention to Belarus' solutions in the agricultural sector and processing industry. After all, Kalmykia, as well as a number of other regions of Russia, launched a large-scale construction program, and Belarus can offer a lot in this regard: competencies, machinery, equipment, materials, as well as expertise and knowledge as it has experience in building various facilities across Russian regions. Cooperation in education, sports, tourism, medical services and culture holds a lot of promise, too. Belarus is ready to consider proposals within the shortest time possible.
“I think that you, as a professional athlete, will be interested in our sports infrastructure, our expertise and best practices in training athletes across many disciplines, physical education for the youth. All the conditions are in place for this in our country,” the president noted. In this regard, Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned the sports career of Batu Khasikov, a multiple world champion in kickboxing. “You have a wealth of experience that can be extremely useful for Belarusians. If you help us, we will really appreciate it,” he said. Moreover, last month the head of Kalmykia visited the Minsk Arena, the Olympic Park ice rink and could see with his own eyes that Belarus has great infrastructure to promote physical education and professional sports.
“We are always happy to host high-profile international competitions, as well as individual training camps of Russian teams. Thank God (it was a blessing in disguise), Belarus and Russia intensified cooperation in athletic training and in holding competitions in many sports. I think that this year we will surpass ourselves in organizing these events. And we will consistently work to get our neighbors interested, as well as people from Asian and African states. If someone from Europe or Latin America wants to join us, they are more than welcome to do this with us and Russians,” the Belarusian leader added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko confirmed Belarus' interest in Elista-Minsk flights that can be operated by Russian air carriers. “The Belarusian side is ready to consider exclusive preferences for Russian airlines at our national airport within the framework of this project,” the head of state stressed.
“I expect a great interest in Belarus on your part. We are ready to meet your needs to the extent that you need. The doors are open for you, as well as for all Russians. You are welcome to adopt any of our best practices. If you need help on the ground, we will be happy to come and provide the necessary assistance and learn from you something new,” the head of state summed up.