MINSK, May 18 (Itar-Tass) —— Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has pointed to a big interest of his country in closer cooperation with St. Petersburg.
“We are very interested in cooperation with St. Petersburg, as well as with Moscow. We have never cordoned off Russia and St. Petersburg as well,” he said during Friday’s meeting with Governor Georgy Poltavchenko.
In Lukashenko’s words, “we have accumulated a colossal experience of cooperation since the Soviet times, which cannot be ignored.”
The Belarusian president is confident that agricultural supplies will fully meet the demands of St. Petersburg. In his words, now the two sides are considering not only trade issues, but also the setting up of joint ventures in the spheres of agriculture and machine building. He pointed especially to the humanitarian interaction. The best groups of Belarus’ artists arrived in St. Petersburg for the opening of the Days of Belarusian Culture.
Poltavchenko, in turn, pointed to the colossal potential for the development of trade and economic relations between Belarus and St. Petersburg. In his words, mutual trade grew by more than 30 percent in 2011 to reach 1.7 billion U.S. dollars, which is a very good indicator.
“We have all possibilities for not only stepping up of trade, but also for the creation of high-tech goods,” the governor said.
He paid special attention to the export of Belarus’ foods to St. Petersburg, while pointing to a certain imbalance in the trade.
Poltavchenko explained that the city authorities purchase food in foreign countries, while the local population prefers to buy food of Belarusian farmers.
In his words, during the current visit the two sides should sign a program of trade, economic, scientific, technical and humanitarian cooperation between the governments of Belarus and St. Petersburg in the period up to 2016.
“We have good prospects for cooperation. The documents is expected to give a fresh impetus to the development of mutual interaction,” the governor said.