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Slovakia plays important role in Belarus-EU rapprochement

A new stage has been opened in the development of relations between Minsk and Bratislava. On November 25, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko met with the Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico and expressed his gratitude to Slovakia for the normalization of relations between Belarus and the EU. By the way, Slovakia is now chairing the European Union.

Robert Fico has been chairman of the government of Slovakia since 2012 after his party Direction - Social Democracy won the parliamentary elections.

The dialogue between the two countries began in 2003. All this time it was conducted with varying degrees of intensity. Now the countries are implementing a number of mutually beneficial projects.

16 joint ventures and 12 companies with the participation of the Slovak capital are now operating in Belarus.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
It's been difficult time for us, when there has been a serious lack of understanding in Europe what Belarus is, what its policies are, the way we live and work here. Your country and your Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, your citizens, Slavs brought to your country, to the EU leadership the true picture of the true situation in our country. And you have done a lot so that we could normalize the relationship. I am very grateful for it. We are actively cooperating with your country in joint projects, your businesses work here. We are ready for the presence of your companies on the territory of Belarus. And we will do everything to ensure that under any equal conditions we could give advantage to your companies. Therefore, your visit, I hope, will be a new stage in the development of our relations. And, of course, now I'm ready for an absolutely frank conversation, I am ready to answer all questions that you might still have to Belarus. I know that it will benefit both you and us.

Robert Fico, chairman of the government of the Slovak Republic:
I first visited Belarus in 2003, and now, when I went to Minsk, in neighborhoods, I saw a lot of new modern facilities. Over this time, the country has changed a lot, and I sincerely congratulate you on this. I am very pleased that we can see today's meeting as a new impetus to bilateral relations. And I want to add that I am glad that the sanctions were lifted. This will help to bring the EU closer to Belarus. I think sanctions will not bring benefit to anyone.

Mr Fico then held talks with the Belarus government, with economic cooperation being the top topic. Now the trade turnover between the countries reached $170 million, but the potential is much greater. Apart from the fact that trade relations should be increased, the parties agreed to establish a joint facility to produce high-tech products. It will be exported to European Union and the Eurasian Union countries.

Robert Fico today will also participate in the opening of the Belarusian-Slovak scientific center in Vitebsk. In Beshenkovichi, he will visit the construction site of the plant for the production of medicines.

The Slovak delegation also paid tribute to the heroes of WWII: they laid wreaths and flowers at the monument and eternal flame on Victory Square in Minsk center.

Slovakia plays important role in Belarus-EU rapprochement