Alexander Lukashenko: Belarus is interested in maintaining full cooperation with the United States


Alexander Lukashenko: Belarus is interested in maintaining full cooperation with the United States

Belarus has been and will be interested in keeping full cooperation with the United States. This was stated by Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting with US congressmen. The head of state noted that recently, contacts between the two countries have considerably intensified, with trade gradually growing. First of all, thanks to Belarusian export. Despite some political differences, the parties are willing to cooperate in the field of investment and industrial cooperation.

Diplomatic relations between Belarus and the United States were established in 1991, but the political differences that emerged in the mid-2000s did not help the dialogue between Belarus and the United States. As well as restrictive measures in trade. But the official Minsk is always ready for contacts and ready to cooperate directly, without prejudices and stereotypes.  

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
I want you to know that we do not hide anything from you. Everything you want to see in Belarus you will see. This is an opportunity for you to see Belarus fully. You can stay in Belarus for as long as you want, until you have a holistic impression about this country. Something may be negative, something may be positive, but it will be your impression of our country. I believe that we should build a relationship between the United States and Belarus, not with the help of the media, but directly, studying the situation in the country and making the appropriate conclusions. I would like to ask you to express comments. We do not like to be pushed in the back. We will never agree with the fact that someone imposes their will on us. But we are good students. If you propose a solution that will advance the sovereignty and independence of our country, if you offer us options that will improve the life of the Belarusian people, we'll be very grateful and immediately draw up on your experience.

Natalia Breus, CTV:
Time is ripe to discuss the question of the restart of Belarusian-American relations. Alexander Lukashenko and members of Congress talked about a long pause in the relations. Starting from 2012, there has been progress in relations with the United States. Visits at the governmental level are being gradually renewed.

This is the first time these representatives of the parliament have visited Belarus. The politicians belong to different parties. But both Democrats and Republicans agreed on one thing: they have seen a progressive state than media write about.

Dana Rohrabacher, a member of the US House of Representatives from California:
This visit comes after a long pause. This period has been too long. We had to exchange visits more frequently. I hope that this visit is the first of many visits that will open up new opportunities for our relationship. I was glad to see in Belarus what I saw. And the picture I saw pays tribute to your efforts and those of your country for the sake of the people. And I hope that you have a lot to be proud of. And I do hope that there are many areas for cooperation.

Not all are accustomed to the new image of Belarus. Today the republic is already perceived by many primarily as a state-peacemaker and even donor of international security. The American guests appreciated these efforts made by Belarus. 

Dana Rohrabacher, a member of the US House of Representatives from California:
We need to communicate and cooperate. Today, we need peace, we need to ensure the welfare of the world. And if our government work together, we can make this possible. For example, I would like to work together with you to develop some guidelines on how to achieve peace in Ukraine. I would like to note the positive contribution of the government in a situation to establish peace and to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, which takes lives of Ukrainian people.

The American side voiced a proposal to increase the level of diplomatic representation. The first step forward would be to return the US Ambassador to Minsk and the Belarusian ambassador to Washington.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
Our country is interested in keeping full cooperation with the United States. This has always been our stance, even in the worst times of our relations. But even at those hard times, the Belarusian-US relations did not stop. We always interacted on issues of global and regional security, which is very important today to prevent illegal transit of nuclear materials. We very much appreciate the support of our initiatives in the United Nations and readiness of the USA to support Belarus' accession to the World Trade Organization. Cooperation between Belarusian and American law enforcement agencies continues, inter-regional ties are improving, we are developing cooperation in the field of science, culture and education.

The United States is one of the leading investors in the Belarusian economy. In 2014 alone, Belarus received nearly $70 million US investment. An important event for the bilateral dialogue was the holding in New York in September 2014 of the Belarus Investment Forum. Back then, it was attended by hundreds of American companies. In 2015, total trade grew too.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
The United States is our promising trading partner and investor, and we do not hide this fact. Belarusian producers are interested in gaining access to solvent and large US market. We are ready to mutually do everything in order for your companies to comfortably run business here in Belarus. We are interested in attracting investment, in the development of industrial cooperation and your loans.
US corporations are showing increasing interest in Belarus. This is, among other things, due to certain advantages Belarus gets thanks to being part of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union.
To date, Belarus has about 400 enterprises with American capital. However, I am convinced that the potential of our economic cooperation is much greater. Despite some differences in the political sphere, I'm sure that problematic issues that divide us are outnumbered by the positive factors.

At the initiative of the American side, there were held meetings with Belarusian officials representing the National Bank, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Academy of Sciences. As head of the Committee on Science, Congressman Rohrabacher was particularly interested in the latest developments in aerospace and energy saving.

Vladimir Gusakov, Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences:
The Americans were interested in everything. When it comes to IT, Americans buy software in our technology park. In agriculture, the Academy of Sciences has a lot of breakthroughs and developments, particularly in the field of the newest kinds of food. The American side is also interested in buying our newest types of food.

Dana Rohrabacher, a member of the US House of Representatives from California:
I came with my daughter and yesterday she was in the circus. If I want to show circus in America, I invite them to my work so they see what is going on.
When I return to the United States, I will first of all speak about my impressions. We are told that Belarus and Russia are hostile countries. This is not true. Upon returning to the US I will talk first of all about the fact that local people are good and wonderful and they don't want to harm us. I must honestly say that the coverage of events in Belarus in our press is always in the negative light and when I get back, I'll try to fix it.

This visit attracted much attention because there is interest in Belarus on the part of the USA. Even despite the controversies.