These days, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is in the Middle East. He is now in the United Arab Emirates, but early in the morning of October 30, the President held talks with the Sheikh of Qatar.
This is one of the richest Arab countries. Here, there is the highest oil production per capita in the world. And each of the 2 million people here is a wealthy man. The country spends petrodollars on social services. In Belarus, Qatari businessmen are involved in a number of projects. Today, this list may become longer.
Roman Golovchenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to the United Arab Emirates and the State of Qatar:
We see Belarusian foodstuffs on the shelves of Qatari stores. Belarusian construction materials are delivered to Qatar for the finishing of the most luxurious buildings.
Among the possible joint projects are a powerful financial center and an industrial zone; the development of Belarusian mineral deposits, exchange of experience on development of agricultural production as well as transport and logistics centers.
Prior to this, Alexander Lukashenko visited Qatar with official visits in 2001 and 2011, but back then he met with the father of the current Emir of Qatar. By the way, now in power in Qatar is the youngest of the current monarchs in the world and at the same time the youngest of the Emirs of Qatar for the time of independence.
Belarusians are known in Qatar thanks to a technology that helped vegetate the Emir's palace and thus made it greener.
This is another example of bilateral cooperation. A multifunctional complex opened in Minsk's Pobeditelei Avenue. The volume of investments is about $200 million. This is not just a hotel, but a cultural and a sports center.
'Flying Falcon'. This is how this joint architectural project is called. The idea is Belarusian and investments came from business partners. By the way, this project is unique: this is the first project implemented outside the State of Qatar, and the first built at the expense of public investment. The architecture involves "classic colonial style" and smooth "natural" forms.
Sunday as the primary day of the talks was not chosen by chance. It means the beginning of a new week. In Qatar, Friday and Saturday are days off.
The domestic market is limited. For example, Qatar does not produce their own food. Today, Belarus and Qatar generally have good relationships and enjoy trust. But the turnover is still small.
Vadim Borovik, a political scientist:
We offer our partners the entire group of products. Turnover is increasing a bit. We are working on the possibility of delivery of our large-scale machinery, trucks, other things. Today our positions in this region are strengthening, the structure of exports and imports is changing. The entire range of Belarusian products is ready to be implemented in the Middle East.
How to develop relations between the states? Among the options is the attraction of investments and creation of joint ventures. Now Belarus would like to deliver to Qatar wood products and foodstuffs. The Belarusian side is ready to entrust the government to work out projects that are beneficial to both countries.
Vladimir Makei, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus:
Qatar delegation plans to visit Belarus within a month in order to discuss on the spot the possibilities of strengthening cooperation in the field of investment. We agreed that there are real prospects for the creation of joint ventures in Belarus, for example, with the participation of the Qatari capital. And then we could export the resulting products which Qatar needs.
On October 30, the sides have signed a package of documents on cooperation development. Among them is a memorandum in the field of banking, health care, finance, and science.
Vladimir Amarin, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Belarus:
We expect cooperation in the formation of the fiscal and tax law, securities regulation, use of various financial instruments to raise funds and investments.
From Qatar's capital, the President will go to the Emirates. The program of the working visit is rich. Here the head of state will meet with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, as well as with the ruler of Dubai.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established nearly a quarter of a century ago. Since the beginning of the 2000s, Alexander Lukashenko, has visited the UAE four times. For now the bilateral trade amounts to about $30 million. It can and should be increased.
Sergei Kizima, Doctor of Political Sciences:
This creates a situation where they have an interest in new technologies and there is a lot of money, and we have some interesting developments in the field of new technologies. Here, an obvious connection is possible: their money and our technologies.