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08 February 2024, 15:30

Lukashenko sets priorities for Belarus-Uzbekistan cooperation

TASHKENT, 8 February (BelTA) - Belarus and Uzbekistan have reaffirmed their fundamental focus on building cooperation in all areas, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko told the media after the talks with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Tashkent on 8 February, BelTA has learned.

The head of state said that the talks were held in an exceptionally open, friendly, fraternal atmosphere, were highly informative and productive. 

“We considered a wide range of issues and confirmed the fundamental focus on building cooperation in all areas where Minsk and Tashkent have joint projects,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president mentioned the trade and economic sector in the first place. In general, the countries show good results in this area. Last year, trade exceeded a record high of $500 million.

“We can see however that the potential is still hugely untapped,” the president stressed.

On interregional cooperation

The development of new and expansion of existing partnerships at the level of regions of the two countries is seen as one of strong reserves. “The Forum of Regions recently held in Tashkent testifies to the fact. Unfortunately, contacts weakened somewhere during the period of the pandemic. Now is the high time to resume them and fill them with concrete projects. They are many,” the Belarusian leader said.

On industrial cooperation

Deepening of industrial cooperation, establishment of joint ventures, ensuring favorable conditions for the exchange of goods and services topped the agenda of the talks.

“As for joint productions, we aim at long-term cooperation and their gradual localization, which will ensure the creation of new jobs in Uzbekistan. The main guidelines are import substitution and technological sovereignty,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Given the production and intellectual resources of our countries, we see huge potential in machine-building, agro-industrial complex, and light industry. We dwelled separately on deepening cooperation in pharmaceuticals, including the issues of manufacturing Belarusian medicines in Uzbekistan and setting up new joint production facilities,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

On cooperation with third countries 

According to the head of state, the parties also discussed cooperation with third countries, in particular, with Afghanistan. The presidents paid a lot of attention to this topic.

“Neighboring states, especially long-suffering Afghanistan (about which Shavkat Miromonovich told me a lot), need our help and support. These, first of all, medicines, food and clothes - essentials. We can do a lot in this area and we can work with Afghanistan. Uzbekistan has all necessary conditions for this. This is of great interest for us,” the president said.

On training specialists and scientific exchange

The two countries attach great importance to expanding interaction in the cultural and humanitarian sector. The countries are now actively cooperating in science and education, implementing joint projects on experience exchange, training 

Today, more than 5,000 Uzbek students are studying in Belarusian universities and under joint programs. A few years ago there were only a few dozen of them.

“I promised my friend, a person close to me, that we will do everything he wishes in the education sector. We will open branches of our schools and universities here if necessary,” the head of state said. “We are also ready to implement plans for scientific exchanges. The forum of university rectors and the medical forum held at the end of last year show the demand and great prospects for our cooperation in these areas.”

He also noted the expansion of cooperation in sports and tourism. Belarus is ready to develop contacts between the youth of the two states, to intensify joint events, especially now as Tashkent has been named the CIS Capital of Youth this year.

On cooperation on international platforms

“We could not ignore the international agenda. We will continue developing our cooperation on international platforms. We are grateful to Uzbekistan and the president personally for the constant support of Belarus in international organizations,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko is confident that the agreements reached during the talks will open good prospects for building a long-term equal partnership between Belarus and Uzbekistan. The head of state invited his Uzbekistan’s counterpart to pay an official visit to Belarus at any time convenient for him. “I hope our fruitful dialogue will continue in Minsk,” the Belarusian leader said.

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