Saturday, May 3, 2014

Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Friday that Belarus should refrain from establishing embassies in countries where Belarusian ambassadors would have "nothing to do.”

Speaking during a government conference on staffing matters, Mr. Lukashenka suggested that embassies should be established for the implementation of some cooperation program, according to the presidential press office.

He asked Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey whether Belarus would benefit from the appointment of ambassadors to the Netherlands, Ecuador and Mongolia under his May 2 edict.

Mr. Makey played up the potential of the Belarusian embassies in these countries and the track records of their ambassadors.

Belarus’ trade with Ecuador has increased from almost zero to $28 million last year, he said, noting that Ecuador’s economy was similar to Venezuela’s. The Belarusian ambassador in Quito will also perform Belarus’ ambassador to several other neighboring countries.

“As for Mongolia, there had been a stable level of foreign trade with this country in the last two years despite the bad international financial and economic situation,” Mr. Makey said. “In addition, the two countries have promising programs of the supply of quarry equipment, of cooperation in agriculture and the supply of agricultural machinery and equipment.”

As for Belarus’ cooperation with the Netherlands, the two countries traditionally have a high volume of trade, more than $3 billion a year, Mr. Makey said. Even if the export of crude oil, petroleum products and potash to the Netherlands is not taken into account, bilateral trade has doubled this year compared with the same period of 2013, he said. Belarus receives hundreds of millions of US dollars in investment from the Netherlands, he said. Belarus closely cooperates with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is headquartered in The Hague, and was elected to its Executive Council last year, he said.

Mr. Lukashenka stressed that the main requirement for ambassadors was to ensure the development of cooperation between their host countries and Belarus. He noted that there is a very large potential for cooperation with Argentina and Brazil. “And if we don’t have a good dynamic, this means we should deal with the ambassador,” he warned. //BelaPAN

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