Belarus's President Aliaksandar Lukašenka paid an official visit to Libya this week and met its revolutionary leader, Muammar Quadhaffi, who promised to launch several investment projects in Belarus. Lukašenka hinted that his and his host's views "on many major problems of international policy and contemporary world structure" are similar. Lukašenka also said that both countries advocate "a multi-polar world and stability in northern Africa and are ready for large-scale economic co-operation."
Belarus's leader believes his country possesses everything necessary for developing a partnership with Libya in all spheres. A Libyan investment company, LAFICO, will take part in the reconstruction of Miensk's MAZ, which produces trucks and buses. It was also agreed to create a common investment bank, based in Miensk, using 50 per cent Libyan capital.
"Our agreements, if fulfilled, could lead to impressive perspectives," Lukašenka's spokesman, Nikolay Borisevič, quoted him as saying in Tripoli.
We've got the republic,
you've got the bananas...
According to Lukašenka, he had "great hopes" and was unhappy about media reports that he had found a new partner in Africa. "Yes, indeed, a new partner who is very rich and interesting. But Belarusians, unfortunately, are not the first. France, Germany and other states are involved with Libya, because probably no other state possess a wealth such as Libya's."
President Lukašenka told reporters Libya has "oil, big money and a large market for our goods" and mentioned that Libya's leader has invited him to pay a visit several times. "I count on the export of our goods to Libya and enlargement of its [export volume]," he added.
Belarus and Libya have signed a number of intergovernmental agreements on assistance and mutual protection of investments, on setting up a joint
Belarus's exports were worth USD 1.558 million. The country exports photochemicals, photographic plates and films, insulated wire, cables and tyres. No Belarusian-Libyan joint ventures or offices of Libyan companies are currently registered in Belarus.
But Belarus did open an embassy in Tripoli during the visit, and Libya is expected to send an ambassador to Miensk soon. Belarus and Libya established diplomatic ties in 1996. They have already signed a commercial treaty and protocol on consultations between foreign ministries.
Yuri Svirko, 6 November 2000
Yuri Svirko is Editor-in-Chief of Belarus's private Yu S News Agency
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