Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during a conversation with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, Minsk, June 19, 2020
Sergey Lavrov: I won’t convey greetings from Vladimir Putin since you have just spoken with him.
Alexander Lukashenko: Yes, I just talked to him. He said: “You’ll talk to Mr Lavrov soon. I asked him how he learned about my schedule. Mr Putin asked me to pass his greetings to you. So, I am passing greetings from your boss.
Indeed, we had a very open and good conversation although many people think there are sparks in our relations. There are no sparks with us. There are always some problems in working relationships, it only natural.
Sergey Lavrov: A spark is required for ignition to move forward later.
Alexander Lukashenko: Absolutely. This is how we see our relations.
Of course, both countries have enough problems. The pandemic has aggravated many problems, including at the international level – you know and feel this better than me. You have more than enough political problems with the adoption of new amendments to the Constitution. We are in for a presidential election. Indeed, we are like brothers, everything happens in parallel and these problems are reflected like in a mirror. I believe we will resolve them. They are not catastrophic.
Sergey Lavrov: I don’t doubt this.
Alexander Lukashenko: If someone (speaking of my conversation with my friend Vladimir Putin) hopes “to set us at loggerheads” (I’m quoting) and worsen our relations, he won’t succeed. I fully agree with Vladimir Putin. If someone hopes to do this he will only fail. We will overcome the coronavirus pandemic and the information, economic, political and oil-and-gas pandemic. We will overcome all of these. We can do this.
We discussed the pandemic. I see how medical treatment of people in Russia is being stabilised and improved. Vladimir Putin offered me a new medication that was tested in the Russian Federation and proved to be effective. True, we are using a Japanese version but yours is better.
Sergey Lavrov: These are medications of the same group.
Alexander Lukashenko: Yes, this is why I have asked the Belarusian Healthcare Ministry to provide for the supply of these medications from Russia and will try the Russian version or a counterpart of the Japanese make because it has proved to be effective even in treating high-ranking officials in Russia. We will try it as well. That said, the situation is bearable. I think we’ll cope with it, all the more so if we pool our efforts.
Sergey Lavrov: Thank you very much for this opportunity. We planned to visit exactly a month ago but the sanitary situation made its own adjustments.
Alexander Lukashenko: You are the first person to come to us from Russia at the peak or soon after the pandemic.
Sergey Lavrov: Today, we will hold our scheduled events.
I am very grateful to you for your reception, Mr Lukashenko. I am grateful for the cooperation conducted by our foreign ministries in line with the two-year plan that has been approved by you and President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Today, we will look at our achievements in this respect.
We are working in harmony in all areas, in all international organisations. Today, we will take a very important step – signing intergovernmental agreements on mutual visa recognition, with the consent of both presidents. This will be very important for citizens of third countries visiting Russia and Belarus, entrepreneurs operating here and in Russia and, of course, for diplomats simultaneously accredited in Moscow and Minsk. I think this step will receive a very positive response and will promote our joint work on the Union State.