“Belarus has been waiting for you. There has been much information about the official visit. There were various reasons for it, sometimes fake reasons. However, it is more than nothing. Even negative information that has nothing to do with the reality can sometimes be positive. There was huge interest before your visit. We have been waiting for it for a long time. A lot has been said about Azerbaijan,” the head of state said.
The president emphasized that Belarus views Azerbaijan as a very friendly brotherly country. The two states maintain very good relations at all levels.
Alexander Lukashenko pointed out a dynamic development of the trade and economic relations. The bilateral trade has already increased almost three and a half times thus far in 2018 as compared to the same period of 2017. “I want to assure you once again that there will never be closed topics in our relations. We used to live in one state. We are very close people. We have common roots in the Soviet period. Perhaps, Belarusian and Azerbaijani people had good relations ages ago,” the president said.
He welcomed Ilham Aliyev in Belarus. “I am very happy that you are here. We need to discuss some things. We maintain good relations in all fields, be it trade, economy, politics, military sector. But we still can do a lot, we can improve these relations,” the head of state said.
“Azerbaijan has always been a reliable strategic partner for us and will remain so. We highly value our friendship and are ready to assist the promotion of Azerbaijan's interests in the center of Europe.
We have never cooperated against third countries. We do our utmost for the benefit of our peoples. There have never been closed issues in our cooperation. We are sincere and open to the whole world.
High level of interstate trust is not accidental. It is based on long-standing traditions of friendship between the Belarusian and Azerbaijani peoples. This enables us to discuss even the most complex issues in a constructive atmosphere.
The trade with Azerbaijan has been gaining positive dynamics recently. Yet it is still far from being optimal. This is what we talked about a lot today. We see the potential for increasing it
You've recently built an oil-processing complex in Turkey. We would be glad to welcome Azerbaijani investors in Belarus and are ready for serious interaction in strategic industries. The possibility of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic investing in the modernization of OAO Grodno Azot is being discussed", the president noted.
The Belarusian head of state remarked that the countries have laid a foundation for broad industrial cooperation. “A good example of this work was demonstrated by the Belarusian machine-building flagships, MTZ and MAZ, and Ganja Auto Plant. More than 10,000 tractors and 3,500 automotive vehicles have been already assembled in Ganja. Today we are prepared to begin a new stage of cooperation - joint advancement to the markers of third countries,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
According to the president, there are also good prospects in such industries as the delivery and assembly of electric buses, elevators, grain harvesters and other agricultural equipment in Azerbaijan. “We expect that sooner or later you will stop using American and German harvesters. We know how it goes: when a harvester is broken you need to pay as much for spare parts and other stuff. Therefore, some time ago we decided to manufacture our own harvesters, and the decision was right. I think that we will win in this sector. So we are ready to set up a joint venture to produce this equipment in Azerbaijan and even focus on third countries,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
Alexander Lukashenko deemed it necessary to expand contacts in the agrarian sector, raise mutual food supplies. “Our dairy, meat and fish products, confectionery sell well in Azerbaijan. International trade is a road with two-way traffic. Therefore, we would like to see more Azerbaijani products on the Belarusian market,” the president said.
In this context, he mentioned the Trading House of Azerbaijan in Minsk. “This is the future. And the prospect of developing this network is in the oblast capitals.”
Lukashenko remarked that not only Belarusian citizens buy corresponding products from Azerbaijan. “There is a lot of movement in connection with the Ukrainian events. Azerbaijani products are in high demand. Moreover, Azerbaijani people know how to trade. We should learn from you,” the president said.
He praised the opening of the Trading House of Azerbaijan in Minsk and stressed that this project is supported. The Belarusian side will continue supporting proposals aimed at a balanced increase in bilateral trade.
He also thanked Azerbaijan for cooperation with the Directorate of the 2nd European Games, for support and assistance in the preparations for the sports event in 2019.