MINSK, 4 May (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko to receive his report on 4 May, BelTA has learned.
On the country's economic performance
First of all, Aleksandr Lukashenko was interested in the country's economic performance: “What results do we have in Q1?” He emphasized, however, that the main thing is not even the country's performance in the first quarter of the year, but the future perspectives such as the results planned for the end of the year, including taking into account the existing problem.
“I read various forecasts in the media: the IMF, the World Bank and many others give their forecasts. This is however not the first year I have seen these results and forecasts: they have never been objective, and we have never worked the way they forecast. Therefore, the government should have the most accurate forecast: what we will have, taking into account the problems that exist,” said the president.
On counter sanctions
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, one of such problems is an attempt to intimidate Belarus with sanctions. He stressed that this should not be left unanswered. “The Europeans feel especially uneasy about this. I am not going to go into detail here, give any opinions. I will just say: if the Europeans want problems for themselves in connection with these sanctions, they will get them. I will say no more. Time will tell. I will just ask you to provide me with the information about the largest European projects in our country and the companies set up in Belarus to take a look at how they work here,” the head of state said.
He also tasked the government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to look into the so-called Western humanitarian programs in Belarus. “These are non-profit organizations, foreign agents, all sorts of criminals. I have already told the head of the President Administration about it. Tell Sergeyenko that I keep an eye on the matter. We agreed to re-register both these organizations and the media. They keep us on a short leash and start pulling us when they feel like it. Profitable, or unprofitable - I can see that they do not even think about it anymore. Well, if they do not think about it, it is fine, they will go to Russia via... They will go to the Baltic Sea, they will transport goods around Spain as well - to the Mediterranean Sea and across the Black Sea, if they feel bad about Belarus in the center of Europe,” the president said.
“I always ask this question: who benefits from this and why? We are defending our country, and you and I, and our people want to live in our country. We are just defending it. Why do we get all those sanctions? We need to respond. We should not act as we used to do: sticking our head in the sand, like ostriches, and think that we will tolerate, withstand it. No. We need to show that we are a nation, and that we have our own land, our own country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
On combating the pandemic
They also talked about the financing of the anti-COVID measures in the country. The head of state emphasized the importance of supporting doctors and medical staff who work in the red zones.
“I was briefed during my trip that there were some problems (if there are any, of course) with the funding of the anti-Covid measures. Huge amounts of money have been spent to combat the pandemic so far. Neither Europeans nor Americans have done anything to help us. Although the WHO and the UN constantly state that those who need help should get it. They did nothing. Moreover, they have been trying to worsen the situation here,” the president said. “How is our healthcare doing? The main thing is that we have treated and will continue treating our people. God help us have this problem solved the way we are solving it now, and have the possibility to support the doctors who work in the red zones and treat Covid patients,” the president added.
On the recovery of the Chernobyl-affected areas
Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned the issues that had been discussed during his recent working trip to the areas affected by the Chernobyl accident. Then it was decided to work out a new program for the development of the Chernobyl-affected areas by September.
“We do not need to solve the Chernobyl problem indiscriminately, as we used to do. We need to decide on each area, on each agro-town what we need to do there. We need to restore the pre-Chernobyl level of life and safety there. All the problems have been outlined. We just need to decide where to work. We will need to create the necessary conditions for people: infrastructure and housing. We will build enterprises and we need people to work there. We need to adopt this final program in order to level off the regions that were affected by the Chernobyl disaster,” the president said.
On cooperation with Russia
The head of state asked Roman Golovchenko to brief him on the results of the EAEU intergovernmental council meeting in Kazan and also his talks with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. “The Russian president and I agreed that you and Mikhail Mishustin would meet at this stage and try, if possible, to finalize at least the issues that may still have to be discussed at the presidential level. I suggested doing it at the Supreme State Council meeting which will be attended by everybody, including the prime ministers and the heads of our parliaments,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.
Roman Golovchenko briefly spoke about the country's economic performance in Q1 2021. In his words, the Belarusian economy reached a steady growth trajectory. Gross domestic product grew slightly to make up almost 101%. “We are going ahead of the forecast and the trajectory is upward. We expect an 1.4% increase in January-April, and the growth of almost 2% in H1 2021,” the prime minister said. He added that industry became the main driver of growth among the sectors.