Lukashenko: We have no collision of political opinions with Georgia

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Belarus and Georgia are able to build a solid foundation for future relations based on strong trade and economic ties, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said at the meeting with his Georgian counterpart Giorgi Margvelashvili in Tbilisi on April 23.

"We have no collision of political opinions. I am grateful to the former President and to you for your support in the West," said Head of Belarusian State.

"We should have met here, in this legendary city, this country, long ago, said Alexander Lukashenko. It`s my shame I`ve never been to Tbilisi. I should probably have come here a long time ago, especially since our nation has always had a profound respect for the Georgian people."

President of Belarus noted that his visit to Georgia began with the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Alexander Lukashenko said that he did it in honor of those who died during World War II and the Great Patriotic War. "This is because thousands of Georgians liberated our Belarus. Hundreds, perhaps, thousands of Georgians died in the territory of our country, so I paid tribute to them on the eve of the date which is important to all Georgians, to all Soviet soldiers who died during the war," said the Belarusian leader.

Alexander Lukashenko also expressed his gratitude to George Margvelashvili for cordiality and hospitality.

The President of Georgia, in his turn, called the visit of the Belarusian leader to Georgia an event which is very important to both countries and their bilateral relations. "I am glad that you came. I am sure that your visit will be the basis for strengthening and deepening those very sincere relations we have," he said.

"Your personal attitude to Georgia and Georgians is a great foundation for developing our relations," said the President of Georgia.

"I think that in many aspects, the relations between Belarus and Georgia are and will be an example for other countries. So, we are setting out on the way to our future cooperation," said Giorgi Margvelashvili.

As Georgian media report, extended talks and a joint press conference will be held after the one-on-one meeting between the Presidents.

Earlier, Tbilisi hosted a meeting between the Georgian Minister of Agriculture Otar Danelia and the Belarusian Minister of Agriculture and Food Leonid Zayats and the Minister of Industry Vitaly Vovk. According to the results of the talks, it is planned to establish joint agricultural ventures. In addition, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia Vakhtang Gomelauri met with his Belarusian counterpart Igor Shunevich to discuss the issues of bilateral cooperation. The Interior Ministers will sign three documents: an agreement on cooperation in combating organized crime, a readmission agreement and an implementation protocol.

The fact that the President of Belarus would pay an official visit to Georgia for the first time became known in the beginning of April at the opening of the 2nd session of the Belarusian-Georgian intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation. As it was reported, during the visit it was expected to sign an agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs affairs, tourism, intellectual property protection, and standardization, metrology and conformity assessment.

Over the past five years (from 2009 to 2013), the trade volume between Belarus and Georgia increased 1.7 times and exceeded 62 mln dollars. In January-November 2014, the volume of bilateral trade amounted to $ 58 mln. and increased by 1% compared to the same period in 2013.

In recent years, the relations between Georgia and Belarus haven`t always been close. When the "Rose Revolution" won in 2003 and Mikhail Saakashvili came to power, the two countries had no close high-level contacts.

Sometimes Heads of both states criticized each other. However, in 2007, the Belarusian President said that he "had good relations with Saakashvili." Belarus` non-recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 gave an additional impetus to the relations.

Saakashvili even congratulated Lukashenko on his victory in 2010 elections, despite the fact that none of Georgia's western partners recognized the results of those elections.

When George Margvelashvili won the presidential elections in Georgia in 2013, Alexander Lukashenko sent him an official congratulations message.

Text by TUT.BY

Pictures by BelTA