Inauguration of second runway at Minsk National Airport

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

3 May 2019

The second runway has been inaugurated at Minsk National Airport. The ceremony was attended by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 3 May.The ribbon was cut by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, Transport and Communications Minister Aleksei Avramenko, and Director General of Minsk National Airport Dmitry Melikyan. The event was attended by employees of the airport, Belavia airline, Belaeronavigatsia enterprise and organizations that participated in the construction of the new runway.Aleksandr Lukashenko called the opening of the second runway an extraordinary event. “Many experts persuaded me that we were not up to the task, that we had never built runways and that we needed to invite a world-class company. We almost reached an agreement with one of them. But when they brought me a document for singing, it spelled out the amount worth of $600 million. Thus the project was tabled then,” the President said recalling the events.

According to the head of state, the new runway was still needed because the airport is the face of the country. It was agreed, however, that the project would be carried out by Belarusian specialists.
The runway was tested in late April as the air force one took off it heading to China and landed on it too upon return to Minsk. “My pilot told me that he saw such a runway only in the Arab Emirates. This means we are capable of implementing such projects. The project cost us not $600 million, but three times cheaper. This is our great achievement,” the President said.The head of state recalled the 1990s when there was an endemic privatization. Many foreign investors wanted to buy all the airports in the country. “I decided against the privatization of the airports, including this one. The main gate to the country should remain in the hands of the state,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.According to the President, if Minsk National Airport had been privatized then, it would not be developing at such a pace today.Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed gratitude to builders for the construction of the second runway and told them to be ready for new projects.The President added that with the opening of the new runway the airport will not stop growing better. “We need to continue modernization efforts and make it more comfortable for people. We need to get this compound into shape, make it appealing. It seems nice but lacks appeal, as airports in other states have,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.In honor of the opening of the second runway the airport employees gave the head of state a mock-up Boeing 767 300ER – air force one.The President talked to the workers and thanked them for their contribution to the construction of the new runway. Aleksandr Lukashenko was also interested in their working conditions and salaries. The Belarusian leader noted that with the increase in passenger traffic, the salaries of airport employees will also rise. “Stability, however, is what matters most. If there is instability, no one will come here. We should remember this,” the head of state said.“Thank you for what you did. It seemed impossible from the point of view of our government. Well done!” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.The second runway at Minsk National Airport is a set of engineering structures, including the concrete strip, which is 3.7km long and 60m wide, the runway and taxiways, a cargo apron, parking space for aircraft, checkpoints and other infrastructure facilities. The estimated cost of the project exceeded Br395 million. The construction of the second runway took three years and involved nearly 900 specialists and 300 construction vehicles. The new runway has been rated as 4F, which enables the airport to handle aircraft of all types without restrictions in severe weather conditions.

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Aleksandr Lukashenko thanks representatives of Belarusian Public Association of Veterans

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

3 May 2019

For many years of fruitful work, significant personal contributions to the patriotic upbringing of young Belarusians letters of thanks of the president of Belarus have been bestowed upon representatives of the Belarusian Public Association of Veterans. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has signed the relevant executive order on 3 May.The list of awardees includes Chairman of the Committee of Great Patriotic War Veterans of the Brest City Organization of the public association Vasily Bereznev, Chairman of the Volkovysk District Organization Anatoly Ignatovich, and First Deputy Chairman of the Minsk City Council of the Belarusian Public Association of Veterans Viktor Kostko. Letters of thanks have also been given to First Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Gomel Oblast Organization Vasily Kozyrev, Chairman of the Council of the Mogilev District Organization Viktor Pinchuk, and a member of the Council of the Polotsk District Organization Nikolai Sushkov.

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Greetings to Japanese Emperor Naruhito on ascending the throne

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

2 May 2019

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has extended greetings to Japanese Emperor Naruhito on ascending the throne.“I am confident that with your support the Belarusian-Japanese relations will continue developing for the benefit of the two countries. I would be happy to establish contacts with Your Highness and promote them to discuss the prospects of bilateral cooperation and issues of international importance aimed at building a safe and confident future for our friendly nations,” the message of greetings runs.The head of state also sent a message to Emperor Akihito, who declared his abdication, noting that Belarus respects and understands the decision. “It was a great honor and pleasure for me to maintain contacts with you over all those years,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.According to the President, Belarus and Japan established diplomatic relations under the ruling of Emperor Akihito. The countries also provided mutual assistance in mitigating the consequences of manmade disasters, developed cooperation on the international arena, and also in the economic sector, sports, education, culture and science.The head of state extended greetings to the people of Japan on the beginning of the era of beauty and harmony and wished peace and wellbeing to the people of the country.

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Foreigners accredited for 2nd European Games Minsk 2019 no longer require police registration

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

2 May 2019

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has signed Decree No.164, which addresses some aspects of organization of the 2nd European Games Minsk 2019.The document amends a number of presidential decrees concerning the organization of the games. In particular, the new decree regulates the use of state property, the use of radio electronics and high-frequency devices, medical aid for participants and guests of the 2nd European Games Minsk 2019, and other practical matters concerning the games’ organization. Measures to reduce the cost of this large-scale event are stipulated.In addition to free passage in Minsk city passenger transport systems participants and volunteers of the games will be able to travel for free by suburban passenger transport between Minsk and the Minsk National Airport and between Minsk and Zaslavl. Foreign citizens with accreditation for the games will no longer have to seek police registration in Belarus.

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Meeting with Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus Mikhail Orda

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

2 May 2019

It is necessary to organize and carry out the forthcoming campaign to elect members of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly in a decent, beautiful, and honest manner. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement as he met with Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus Mikhail Orda on 2 May.The head of state expects trade unions to take an active part in the election campaign. “Don’t go far away from the pre-election campaign – together with public organizations, government agencies, political parties may play some role in the process regardless of whether they are opposition ones or, as we say, pro-government ones. We should decently, beautifully and honestly organize this process,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.“We are now in quite a large electoral cycle – the parliamentary elections followed by the presidential election. You understand perfectly well that no other organization in Belarus is more organized and united than our trade unions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.This is why the head of state spoke in favor of broad and vigorous inclusion of the trade unions in election processes, particularly at the stage of the parliamentary elections. It is particularly true for work in election commissions which core is traditionally represented by teachers, medics, and members of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus. “I would very much like you to provide support to municipal authorities in the course of setting up the commissions and organizing the entire pre-election process,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.Trade unions are also expected to actively nominate candidates during the forthcoming parliamentary elections. “Those are experienced people, representatives of labor collectives. Such people should be promoted and nominated. We need good specialists, who could work in the parliament. You’ve worked in the parliament and know that it is hard labor,” the President said. “This is why it is very important for us to see sensible people there.”

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Meeting with former Lithuanian President, member of the European Parliament Rolandas Paksas

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

2 May 2019

Belarus wants to have peaceful amicable relations with Lithuania, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with former Lithuanian President, member of the European Parliament Rolandas Paksas on 2 May.The head of state welcomed Rolandas Paksas in Belarus noting that Lithuanian politicians do not often come to Minsk to discuss problems in bilateral relations. He noted that Belarus and Lithuania share similar views on some topics but also have their differences on others. However, this is normal for neighboring countries, the President said.“Since we are neighbors, and you do not choose your neighbors, they are God-given, we need to be good neighbors to each other, whether we like it or not. To live peacefully and amicably (we in Belarus do not see any other way and you know it well), we need to communicate and discuss a variety of topics, starting from the common security in the region (now, as you know, there is a storm in Europe, a strong one, and I hope we can weather this storm). On the other hand, there are local problems, for example, the construction of a nuclear power plant. This topic is very relevant in Lithuania and, we believe, very politicized,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.The head of state believes that the visit of Rolandas Paksas to Belarus will mark a good start to the discussion of the existing problems. The president also noted that trade and economic relations make up the basis of bilateral cooperation. “Despite political differences, their level is very high. We are always very pleased to use your seaport infrastructure for transshipment of our goods. The terms of work have always been comfortable for us. Many Belarusians visit Lithuania for tourism purposes and we have never put any barriers for Lithuanian visitors,” Alexander Lukashenko said.The President added that Belarus and Lithuania were once part of one state. The shared historical past should contribute to the development of bilateral relations. “We should look for some good things in the history to rely on. We have a lot of these good things. Let us capitalize on them and build good relations in the future,” the Belarusian leader said.

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Meeting with President of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly George Tsereteli

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

29 April 2019

We should not close our eyes to the problems which exist in the region of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly George Tsereteli on 29 April.
“Let’s agree that there are a lot of problems in our common home, and we must solve them. These are Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, other less urgent and resonant problems. There is also Ukraine,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The President remarked that, perhaps, he criticizes the organization for weak responses to these problems too often, but the resolution of these problems is a priority for the OSCE. “First of all, the organization is responsible for security on the European continent, and it is absolutely inadmissible to ignore existing problems,” the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko added that there have not been any meetings between heads of state under the auspices of the OSCE for a long time. During those meetings the leaders could discuss current issues and try to find a way out from the situation. The last event of the kind took place in Astana in 2010, an even bigger conference took place in Istanbul in 1999.
“It was a strong conference. Unfortunately, the leaders have not gathered together since then. Therefore, there are a lot of problems, and they cannot be ignored. It is necessary to gather together and solve them. If the participants of the meeting did not manage to solve those problems, they will at least make plans, determine prospects. If not, what is the purpose of the organization?” the President said. “You can always count on our support, honesty and sincerity in all fields.”
George Tsereteli, in turn, thanked the Belarusian head of state for the organization of the 26th annual session of the Parliamentary Assembly in Minsk in July 2017. He also pointed out a special nature of friendly and business relations with the chairmen of the chambers of the Belarusian parliament. “I met with Mr Andreichenko [chairman of the House of Representatives] for the third time. It symbolizes Belarus’ proactivity in our organization, and we also want to work with the country,” George Tsereteli said.
He agreed with Aleksandr Lukashenko that there are pending issues in the OSCE region. “When your neighbors have problems, these are your problems. I agree with you that the OSCE is a very serious organization, and many countries, including Belarus, are doing a lot to strengthen it. We are grateful for it,” the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly said.

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Meeting with President of Congress of Local and Regional Authorities Anders Knape

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

29 April 2019

Belarus hopes to develop contacts with the Council of Europe in local governance, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe Anders Knape on 29 April.
The head of state emphasized that Belarus has its vision on the development of local governance. “Of course, we will make progress towards higher independence of local authorities,” the president said. “Belarus could use many good practices of yours. I think that close contacts between local authorities and corresponding agencies of the European Union would be an efficient tool in the fulfillment of these plans.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that he had already discussed the development of local government with former president of the congress Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom. The president remarked that it is a pleasure for him to discuss this topic again with a person having such a solid experience in local governance. “I think that your today’s visit to Belarus will give a new impetus to our cooperation with the European region as far as the development of local and regional governance is concerned,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said addressing the president of the congress.
Anders Knape, in turn, believes that his first five-day visit to Belarus is a productive one. In his words, the congress is pleased to see the interest of the Belarusian government in the development of local governance. “Belarus has always been and still is of interest for the Council of Europe and our congress in terms of cooperation. I’ve got very good impressions of the environment, meetings with government members, local and regional authorities, businessmen during the first two days of my visit,” Anders Knape said.
It was mentioned during the meeting that Belarus has built an efficient system of regional governance. It is aimed at, first of all, improving living standards in the country in general and especially in regions, small populated areas. Local governance, especially councils of deputies of all levels and proactive citizens, plays an important role in this process. The participants of the meeting pointed out the need to increase the role of these councils and citizens in local governance, to make the work more efficient.
The president of the congress expressed readiness to assist Belarus in the development of local governance, particularly, in the training of specialists who can establish constructive dialogue with central authorities at the local level. The proposal was supported by the Belarusian government. Belarus sees good prospects in the development of cooperation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and wants to use the best practices of other countries if they comply with the national interests of the country.

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Visit to Chruch of Nativity of Christ in Ostroshitsy

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

28 April 2019

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko lit a candle at the Chruch of the Nativity of Christ in the agro-town of Ostroshitsy, Logoisk District to mark Easter on 28 April.
The head of state was welcomed at the church by archpriest Aleksandr Zimnitsky. The President lit a candle and extended Easter greetings to churchgoers.
Aleksandr Lukashenko usually visits small churches outside the Belarusian capital on Easter. “On this day I visit small villages. I have already seen many churches and every time I do my best to provide some help. I like all those temples very much. I do not like grandiosity,” the head of state said.
According to the President, grandiosity looks harmonious only in places which symbolize something. “The Palace of Independence, for example, looks grey from outside, but it is pompous inside as it symbolizes the independence of our state. It was built in honor of independence,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state hailed the decorations of the church in Ostroshitsy, wished strong health and good mood to the churchgoers and all the best to the Belarusians. “I wish all the best not only to Belarusians. You know that we are closely watched today. Let them do this. If God is with us, everything will be fine,” the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko gave the church the Icon of the Resurrection of Christ written in Viktor Dovnar’s workshop with the use of the ancient Byzantine technology and treated the churchgoers with President chocolate.
The icon depicts the resurrected Christ wearing white garments. He descends into Hades and raises all those who have fallen through death. Christ is shown holding out his hand to Adam. The icon also depicts prophets Solomon and David, saint John the Baptist, Eve, and forefathers Abel, Abraham and Moses.
The archpriest of the church gave the head of state the Icon of Holy Mother Iverskaya. The icon depicts the Virgin Mary with a baby. The original is kept in the Iversky Monastery on Mount Athos in Greece.

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Meeting with Serbia President Aleksandar Vucic

Source: President of the Republic of Belarus

26 April 2019

Belarus hopes for a significant boost in cooperation with Serbia in the coming years, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Serbia President Aleksandar Vucic in Beijing on 26 April.
“Our economy is getting closer to politics [this pertains to the good bilateral political relations]. I am convinced that in 2-3 years we will be able to make significant progress in our cooperation and develop a good rapport in all areas of mutual interest,” the head of state said.
In particular, Aleksandr Lukashenko announced his visit to Serbia. Corresponding preparations are underway. “I think that during our meeting and my visit to Serbia we will have a serious conversation about our cooperation in the best interests of our people in Serbia and Belarus,” the Belarusian leader remarked.
“Although we are far from our countries, Serbia and Belarus, we found an opportunity to meet and share opinions on certain issues. We do not have any problems in politics. We have similar stances on the international agenda. As for the trade and economic component of our relations, there was a certain decline in bilateral trade last year and an increase in Q1 2019. However, this trade turnover is still rather small for friendly countries and countries with such potentials,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the President, during the forthcoming visit to Serbia the sides will discuss investment prospects, opening and development of joint ventures. “This is an ongoing process. We are developing joint production in Serbia on the basis of MAZ and MTZ. There are good prospects in agriculture and joint production in other industries,” the Belarusian leader is convinced.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also spoke about cooperation in military technology. He stressed that there are no closed or forbidden topics in this field. “We are ready to cooperate with your close and friendly country to the extent that Serbia needs, we can provide assistance in the development of the Serbian military industry and deliver corresponding military equipment. We do not conceal it. There are no forbidden topics here.”
“So, we are ready to use every opportunity to give an additional boost to our cooperation. I want our next meeting to be a significant one, I hope that it will help advance our cooperation to a brand-new level. I am convinced that we will manage to do it,” the Belarusian leader concluded.
Aleksandar Vucic, in turn, agreed that the countries maintain very good political relations. In his words, it is essential to step up efforts to increase the bilateral trade and set up joint enterprises. “We are absolutely open here, and we are waiting for you in Belgrade,” he said.
“Everything you said about cooperation in military technology is very important for us. Thank you for what you have already done,” the Serbian President added.
He also emphasized that Serbia is always interested in cooperation with friendly Belarus and is ready to make practical steps in this direction.

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