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 Monday, June 17 2013 19:12:01

Marianna Mkrtchyan

Stepan Sukhorenko: For 20 years of diplomatic relations establishment our partnership has become more effective than during the USSR

Stepan Sukhorenko: For 20 years of diplomatic relations establishment our partnership has become more effective than during the USSR

Mr Ambassador, Armenia
and Belarus
celebrate an anniversary – 20 years of establishment of diplomatic relations. Did
our countries gain much for these 20 years like the independent states?


 The positions
of Armenia and Belarus
on the key international issues coincide. Earlier we
used to work through Moscow.
The headquarters of foreign
policy was in Moscow.
But today we have been directly working in
all the international platforms like independent entities.
But the most important is that we contact and support each other
in many issues. Armenia and Belarus
are two small countries,
and of course they cannot act the way that Russia and China do. For this reason, big states
or  international structures
have got absolutely different pretensions to them.  As for us, we are
forced to stand shoulder to shoulder and support each other. We  have been effectively cooperating in the humanitarian
sphere and in the sphere of culture as well, and Days of
Belarusian Culture are traditionally 
held in Armenia, and of the
Armenian culture - in Belarus.
Today the two countries know about
each other much more than earlier, as today they directly communicate
without intermediaries. In the sphere of education
both countries have agreements almost with all the profile universities,
and they exchange students and share their experience.  We have
been discussing, which is better the Bologna
process  or an old Soviet
school. Armenia is a
participant of the Bologna
process, but we just
coming closer to it.  However, we still
have the basis - the Soviet
school plus the best practice adapted to today's conditions.
Today we do not say that the Bologna
process is the best and what we
had is bad. Belarus
does not hurry and is coming closer to this
problem very much carefully to find an optimal option. The inter-regional
cooperation is one of the most  important sides of cooperation. Today the
regions of Armenia and Belarus
have established friendship and discuss trade and economic as
well as humanitarian problems. The dialogue often becomes so much
deep and trustful that even the Embassy is not aware of it. For this reason, I
should say once again that for the last 20 years we moved forward more than in
the Soviet Union. And the most important is
that there is no obstacle in our cooperation, though
there are wrinkles, as every country has its own national interests,
but I cannot remember a case of any serious disagreements or barriers
between our countries. If there are disagreements, we try to settle them only
stemming from the interests of both states.


 You probably mean extension of cooperation within
such organizations like the future Eurasian Union
or the Customs Union. Are the Armenian and Belarusian parties cooperating on
the matter?


 One should
get used to one another when choosing any unions.
For instance, Belarus
is a member of the Customs Union and
Single Economic Area. By 2015 members of the organization should join
the Eurasian Union. A question arises: what are more - pluses or
minuses? To us, as a state with an open economy, the Customs
Union as well as Single Economic Area are very much important,
as our key market is developing sin two directions - Russia and Europe.
And today one cannot say that Belarus
is making choice only
between Russia and Europe. 


 Belarus is already able to combine, but Armenia
always asks: either or. This is a pure political speculation.


 The statements by European
functionaries about the necessity of making choice between the European Union
and Eurasian Union are incorrect. Some high
rank European functionaries say these two unions do not hinder
each other, but others do not think so. Let's discuss the issue
logically. Armenia
is a member of the WTO, at present it is
preparing to signing of the Association Agreement with the EU and the
Agreement with Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. Russia is also a member of the WTO, Kazakhstan
is going to join the
WTO. The point is that everything is being formed at single
principles, on which the WTO has been functioning.  As for the European Union,
here as well, everything is being formed on principles
fixed and functioning in the European Union. The activity of the EU is
currently analyzed and the minuses of this structure will be taken into
consideration when forming the
Eurasian Union. For this reason the statements by European
functionaries about the necessity of making choice between the
European Union and Eurasian Union are incorrect. I think, those who make
such statements, watch Armenia
like their patrimony. One should be
more correct, and if you cooperate, remember that you cooperate
with an equal partner, and it does not matter if he is big or small.


 Does Belarus watch any projects that will
be financed through the so called state and private programme financing?


 One of the most
important goals in cooperation between Armenia
and Belarus
is to increase the commodity turnover. This issue was one of the key issues
during the negotiations
between President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko and Armenian
President Serzh Sargsyan. Six agreements on cooperation in various fields were
signed during the visit of the Byelorussian President to Armenia. In particular, the agreements
cover the spheres of nuclear security,
agriculture, sport, economy, etc. As our presidents said, the most
important thing for both states is that the commodity turnover between Armenia and Belarus
is insufficient and does not meet the
capacities. On the one hand, 46 mln USD seems to be a big amount, but
on the other hand, it is only 1% of the total foreign commodity
of Armenia.
The two countries' presidents have set a goal at least to
double this amount within the  next 1.5-2 years. The other
issues concern the both states' further cooperation within international
organizations, such as the CSTO, the CIS, etc. The issue of
formation of the Eurasian Union also plays an important part in the
bilateral relations.


Several years ago president of Belarus offered many foreign businessmen, including
the Armenian ones, to invest in the economy of Belarus. How much Belarus is open today for big and medium-sized
investments?


This topic
is still relevant today. Moreover, our legislation is improving
and becoming more liberal, and one of the key goals is to attract
foreign investments. One of such investment projects is the Byelorussian-Chinese
hi-tech park, which is being formed near the Minsk International
Airport. A very large area is provided for
the project.
Thousands of specialists are supposed to work in the park. It is a
multi-discipline park, and not only Chinese  or Byelorussian economic entities
will be launched there. We believe
that this will be a very promising project. Given that the country is
at the junction of main tracks, nowadays we experience creation of
many transshipment logistics centers. In addition, accommodation
facilities are very actively being built, because Belarus will host the World Hockey
Championship 2014. We welcome investments
in the production industry and sphere of services, but  we are not
interested in short-term speculative transactions, our country
does not need that. There are already 4 Armenian restaurants in Minsk, and the
Byelorussians attend them with pleasure.


Mr. Ambassador, thank
you for an interesting interview

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