Lukashenka holds talks with Venezuelan president in Minsk
Alyaksandr Lukashenka held talks with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Independence Palace in Minsk on Thursday.
According to Mr. Lukashenka, the fact that a high-level Venezuelan delegation leaves Venezuela at a difficult time for the country and the Venezuelan people and goes to visit other countries means that things are getting back into order in Venezuela.
“I think there is no need to say about our feelings for the Venezuelan people and you personally,” Mr. Lukashenka said. “Our history of cooperation has spanned more than 10 years. We have always felt gratitude to and great respect for you and your state.”
“We had a great, common friend, Hugo Chavez, who is, unfortunately, gone now,” Mr. Lukashenka said. “The essence of our meeting is that we need to make a decisive step towards the development of our relations. We are ready for this.”
“We know that we are among true friends,” Mr. Maduro said. “We are over brutal wars and battles but we became stronger during those battles on all the fronts. Now we are recovering, which is a very difficult stage too.”
According to Mr. Maduro, the Venezuelan government is taking measures to boost the country’s economy.
“We called it a Bolivarian development plan, the so-called economy of the post-oil era,” he said. “We should develop the treasures that our country has. In this regard we should identify specific areas of cooperation between Belarus and Venezuela.”
People in Venezuela admire the discipline and working ability of the Belarusian people, Mr. Maduro said.
He pointed out that the Venezuelan government hoped to gradually resume the previous level of cooperation with Belarus and thanked the Belarusian authorities for their solidarity with Venezuela.
After the one-on-one meeting, Messrs. Lukashenka and Maduro took part in delegation-level talks.
The sides were expected to discuss a wide range of issues concerning Belarusian-Venezuelan cooperation in the trade and economic sphere, including the implementation of joint projects, the functioning of joint assembly plants and the expansion of cooperation in the petroleum industry and the fields of agriculture and construction.
The sides were also to discuss issues on the international agenda.
Late in the afternoon, the Venezuelan president was expected to attend a ceremony unveiling a monument to Venezuela’s national hero Simon Bolivar in a Minsk square named after him.
Mr. Maduro visited Belarus in 2013. Mr. Lukashenka went to Venezuela four times, the last one in March 2013 to attend the funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.