The President of Belarus arrived in Moscow on a working visit.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lukashenko,
We meet regularly and fairly often and always find a topic for discussion because the scale of our relations is very large.
Russia remains the number one trade and economic partner for Belarus, while Belarus is among Russia’s top five trade and economic partners.
I must admit there was a slight drop last year and an eight percent decline in the first half of this year, considering the obvious circumstances. However, we assume that these are transitory phenomena. The main point is not our major projects but the mechanism for reproducing and diversifying our trade and economic ties.
Using the institutions we established with your active support, we can not only restore our ties but also move forward.
Mutual investment continues. Russian investors put money into the Belarusian economy, and Belarusian investors invest in the Russian economy. Cooperation continues expanding in machine building, the agricultural machinery industry and other areas. These are prerequisites for moving ahead.
I am very glad to see you again, this time on the pleasant occasion of our Patriarch’s birthday. However, as it usually happens, we use every opportunity for our business discussions and talk about our current business and plans for the short term.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Mr Putin, first of all, I would like to thank you for the invitation and the good idea you had about two weeks ago to go together to wish our Patriarch a happy birthday, which we have now done. This adds a nice touch to the relationship between two presidents, two peoples – close, related peoples. You probably sensed in the hall the feelings of all those present about the two presidents of our closely related peoples coming to honour our Patriarch.
You are absolutely right. We always act this way. Indeed, all of these enjoyable, pleasant responsibilities are intertwined with our official responsibilities. At this turbulent time, when we are beset by all kinds of crises from one side then the other, we are not cut off from this. There are issues that we need to address promptly, without delay. I believe that we will discuss these issues, which come up from time to time, and as always, will take the best possible decision.
Thank you once again for the opportunity to be here today in the Kremlin and discuss our most urgent matters.