Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei, Minsk, June 19, 2020
We are happy to be in Minsk again. We feel at home here.
The fact that we are resuming face-to-face communication confirms the efficacy of the measures being taken by our nations and governments to combat the coronavirus infection. Apart from interaction between the agencies which ensure public safety, as you have already mentioned, we are also cooperating in assisting each other in evacuating our citizens from third countries. Belavia Airlines helped our citizens return home from Egypt, India, the UAE and Angola. We also responded in kind when our airlines were evacuating people from those countries where Belarusian nationals were present.
This year we have been working under the sign of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. We expect President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko to attend the parade on Red Square and other festive events on June 24, along with other guests. We will continue to work tirelessly to counter attempts to falsify history and distort the outcome and significance of our common victory.
Today we are working within an approved programme of coordinated foreign policy actions. This is a crucial instrument enabling our countries to ensure the interests of the Union State on the international arena. We very much appreciate this tradition which helps to promote our interests in different international organisations.
We have a number of joint projects in the economy, in particular, the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power station, which is in full swing. This July, the launch of the first generating unit is scheduled. I hope for progress with tangible results in other areas as well, where our respective economic agencies are successfully cooperating.
Today we had a long and very substantive meeting with Alexander Lukashenko. We always appreciate Mr Lukashenko’s assessment of our ties, development plans for the Union State, and the processes underway in our region and on the international arena.
Today we will discuss all the issues that require our attention, including our interaction within the frameworks of the CSTO, the CIS, the EAEU and the SCO where Belarus is an observer state. We will definitely review how the UN, OSCE and other multilateral organisations are performing at this point, which is challenging amid the coronavirus pandemic and the strained situation in the world. It is always useful to exchange evaluations and views on how our countries’ relations with close neighbours are developing; I mean the European Union. And the North Atlantic Alliance has virtually moved to the border of our common state.
We value our relations greatly. I am sure that today’s talks and the signing of the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Belarus on mutual recognition of visas and other issues related to the entry of foreign nationals and stateless persons to the territory of the state parties to the Treaty on the Creation of the Union State will advance our foreign policy cooperation and common efforts to strengthen the Union State.