Belarus is ready to provide Georgia with favorable conditions for business and offers new joint projects. The country's president Giorgi Margvelashvili is now in Belarus on official visit. On March 1, he was greeted at the Palace of Independence by President Alexander Lukashenko.
The Heads of State met in 2015 in Tbilisi during Alexander Lukashenko's official visit. Many of the agreements that were achieved have been already fulfilled.
Relations between the two countries have acquired the friendly and partner-like tone. The leaders agreed to bring trade turnover to $200 million in the near future.
By the end of 2016, Belarus-Georgia trade amounted to a record high figure in the last five years - more than $70 million. This is 1.5 times more than in 2015.
Belarus and Georgia presidential talks began with a tete-a-tete dialogue.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
We have achieved a breakthrough in our relations literally in a few years' time. Today, we are half-way there although there should be further progress in trade. We once agreed to hit a figure of $200 million - this is only the first step in our relations. The rate of turnover growth with Georgia is the biggest. Belarus does not have a similar growth with any other country. Moreover, the growth is very serious even against the background of the Eurasian Economic Union, which we, unfortunately, are falling. Here we are gaining. Of course, the amounts are not comparable, but the trend is very encouraging. I'm talking about the turnover because it is the foundation of our relations. And we are building the foundation.
I feel that we have good relations. On this basis we are ready for any kind of cooperation with Georgia, with the Georgian people.
We are always happy to welcome and are glad to see Georgian citizens in Belarus and provide them here for full support and cooperation, in tourism, business, and just in travels, if there is such an interest.
Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia:
After your visit to Georgia really, opportunities for business and cultural relations have improved. We are grateful for your visit, which gave impetus to new opportunities. Naturally, Georgia understands and supports Belarus.
We are delighted by the achievements that we have seen in Belarus and we know about them, primarily in agriculture, high technologies and industry development.
We would very much like to look at this experience and develop cooperation in these areas.
Later the presidents were joined by their delegations. Mutual interest is present first of all in agriculture and construction, while the cultural and humanitarian potential is at a high level.
Mikhail Rusyi, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
We have built in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry a potato harvester, which is adapted to work in Georgian conditions. It underwent testing in 2016 and in 2017, I think, in August, these harvesters will work on the fields of Georgia. Similarly as the combine harvester.
The two economies complement each other, which gives advantages in our markets. In this respect, our mutual interest is export of Belarusian equipment, the establishment of joint ventures and service centers.
Belarus has invested heavily in the creation of an efficient agricultural model, adapted to modern realities and needs of the world market.
Our scientists, experts and practitioners can share their knowledge and assist Georgian colleagues in the development of the agricultural sector. Work on the above lines is already underway. But if we want to further develop our co-operation, consideration should be given to new initiatives.
50% of the Georgian population lives in rural areas. The share of agriculture in the Georgian economy is 9%. This is a very small percentage. Plus Georgia imports a lot of agricultural products. I want you to express my admiration for the reforms in Belarus in this area. We are interested in your experience.
About 25 enterprises with the participation of Georgian capital operate in Belarus.
An important area is industrial cooperation. We continue to work on a project in Georgia to assemble Belarusian tractors of low power. Its implementation will insure farmers have access to quality, affordable means of mechanization.
In the development of industrial cooperation, we count on the support of the Georgian leadership regarding joint placement of state orders for manufactured products. For our part, we will help to increase the localization of the machinery produced.
You can also find many mutually beneficial common points in municipal services, public transport, and public services.
Just a few days ago, at the end of February, the European Union approved visa-free regime for Georgia. The new realities entail slightly different rules. Now it is important for Belarus to close the domestic market for an uncontrolled flow of goods from the EU.
Vladimir Makei, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus:
This should spur us to work on the quality and the competitiveness of our products. I am convinced that we will be able to get more dividends in this respect than negative points. The main thing in this situation is not to invent some kind of ephemeral dangers to the economy of our country and our partners in the Eurasian Economic Union, and look at the situation realistically.
Within a few hours the leaders time to discuss a wide range of issues, from the economy to the interaction in international markets. The presidents reaffirmed the mutual desire for intensive comprehensive dialogue.
In talks with the president, we noted that the potential of our countries is not being used to the fullest. We discussed new areas of cooperation. We intend to continue to work actively with our brotherly and friendly Georgia.
I want to tell our Georgian brothers: you've never been strangers to us.
Please tell us what we could do for you. We can share all of our experience. Maybe, we have better preserved something and succeeded in some areas a bit more than you.
I am pleased that Belarus in the future will be deepening relations with Georgia and use all the potential that exists between our peoples to ensure that we increase our welfare. I thank you for the warm welcome and for the steadfast support of Georgia. I am confident that our bilateral relations will be strengthened in the future.
Another tradition: every foreign guest plants a spruce in the alley of honored guests near the Palace of Independence. Alexander Lukashenko and Giorgi Margvelashvili planted an evergreen tree as a sign of friendship between the two countries. As a token of friendship, the leaders of Belarus and Georgia exchanged gifts.
History is another point that unites the peoples. About 14,000 Georgians gave their lives in the battles for the liberation of Belarus.
After commemorating the heroes, the presidents visited the museum of the Great Patriotic War.