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Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

16 January 2020

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko invites Latvia to expand cooperation with Belarus. He made the statement at the meeting with Latvia’s Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins on 16 January.
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the two countries had had very strong economic ties since Soviet times. However, a lot has been lost in recent years. “I am really happy to welcome you and your colleagues in Minsk. I really hope that Minsk is not a stranger city for you, just like the capital of friendly Latvia is not a stranger city for us. No matter where we are, no matter what we or other people say, we used to be part of a once big country in the past. We used to have close, even friendly relations. Our economic ties were very strong,” he said. “A lot has been lost in recent years. But it is more important to look forward rather than to reflect on the past. In this regard, Belarus and Latvia have determined many avenues for cooperation,” he said.
“In contrast to other Baltic states, the backdrop of cooperation between our countries is very good. I assume that we should use this moment to bolster our cooperation. Moreover, it can be very beneficial for the economies of Belarus and Latvia,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.
The head of state remarked that the Belarusian side was making serious preparations for his visit to Latvia. “Thank you and your colleagues for the invitation to visit this friendly country. I believe that your visit to Minsk can be viewed as a serious step towards the preparation of agreements which can be ultimately approved during my visit to Riga,” the Belarusian leader noted.
On the whole, the President said that he was ready to answer any questions and invited the Prime Minister to discuss all topics of interest in an open and honest way. “We need to discuss all issues in order to establish open, honest and sincere cooperation with each other. If we succeed now, in the future we will not start to reproach each other and overcome barriers which we can create if we do not come to agreement, if we do not discuss certain issues today,” the Belarusian leader said.
Krisjanis Karins, in turn, noted that Latvia is interested in developing good relations with Belarus. “It is important for us to see an independent, stable and prosperous Belarus,” the Prime Minister said. He touched on the preparations for Aleksandr Lukashenko’s visit to Latvia, adding that Riga is expecting him on 3 April if this date is convenient for the Belarusian side.During the meeting, the parties also discussed the preparations for the 2021 World Championship which will be co-hosted by Minsk and Riga. Krisjanis Karins said that everything is going according to plan on the Latvian side.“We are very excited about the opportunity to co-host the IIHF World Championship you,” he said. “What is especially pleasant: Belarus and Latvia teams are in different groups. So maybe there is a chance they meet in Minsk at the end of the championship”.“God forbid,” Aleksandr Lukashenko joked and explained that the Belarus ice hockey team has had a lot of trouble at the hands of Latvia, so they would be wary of playing against them in Minsk during the championship.After the meeting Krisjanis Karins gave a Latvia Team hockey jersey to Aleksandr Lukashenko. The white jersey is embroidered with a No.1 and the Belarus President’s name. For his part, Aleksandr Lukashenko presented a statuette of a European bison, one of Belarus’ major symbols, to the Prime Minister of Latvia.

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