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MINSK, May 31 (Itar-Tass) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived on an official visit in Belarus. This is his first official trip abroad after inauguration to the post of President of the Russian Federation.
According to the rules of the protocol, an official welcoming ceremony was organized for him at Minsk airport. Guards of honor were placed in the airfield to give the salute to Putin and a brass band played the Russian and Belarussian national anthems.
President Alexander Lukashenko came to the airport personally to meet and greet Putin. This step is not mandatory for the protocol formalities and it reflects the high degree of respect and attention, which the host party gives to the guest.
From the airport, the two leaders went to the Belarussian President’s countryside residence of Zaslavl, located some 20 kilometers to the northwest of Minsk amid woodlands on the banks of a large artificial water reservoir called the Minsk Sea.
A compound of buildings erected there serves as a site for receiving and accommodating official delegations and especially the arriving foreign dignitaries, as well as for holding international summit meetings.
Putin and Lukashenko are expected to hold talks on the pressing issues of bilateral relations. They will speak about the results of their discussions at a news conference.
The Russian President’s official visit will end Friday, after which he will make short visits to Berlin and Paris.
Upon election for the first term of presidency in April 2000, Putin also made a series of brief foreign visits to the European capitals. Minsk was the first one, Berlin was next and Kiev was the last destination then.