MINSK, June 24 (Itar-Tass) —— Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is going to visit Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador, the Belarusian presidential press service reported on Sunday.
“The president will concentrate on trade, economic relations, the political dialog and some other promising areas of interaction with the Latin American countries,” the report said.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry said that Lukashenko would meet with Council of State President Raul Modesto Castro Ruz. The leaders will discuss ways to develop bilateral relations and to strengthen strategic cooperation between Cuba and Belarus, which mark the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year.
Relations between Minsk and Havana are developing, the Belarusian presidential press service said. “Belarus and Cuba focus on science, biotechnologies, geological survey and some other sectors, including the deliveries of agricultural and other machinery,” it said.
Upon the end of the Cuban visit, Lukashenko will go to Caracas and meet with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The latter said on Friday they would discuss a number of joint project s.
Venezuela is the closest partner of Belarus in Latin America, the presidential press service report. Bilateral trade has grown by more than 200 times in the past five years, from $6 million in 2006 to $1.3 billion in 2011. Belarus and Venezuela are successfully interacting in oil and gas production, petrochemistry, energy, agriculture, culture, science and education.
Shortly before his trip, Lukashenko told the Venezuelan media said he viewed Venezuela as “a bridgehead to cooperation with Latin America.” “I have offered my friend Chavez to regard Belarus as a bridgehead to economic expansion to Europe,” he said, stressing that Belarus was ready for implementing new projects in Venezuela.
Concerning Belarus-Ecuador cooperation, the presidential press service said that the sides “had a significant potential for mounting mutually beneficial cooperation. The setting up of joint ventures, the deliveries of industrial and other commodities and services rendered by Belarusian organizations are cooperation options,” it said.