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Hrant Bagratyan stresses the need to expand the scale of dismissals in Armenian Defense Ministry system

Head of EU Delegation to Armenia: Both Armenians and Azerbaijanis should prepare for peace

Parliamentary forces of Armenia ready to sign "gentleman's agreement" on excluding pre-election bribes

Mammadyarov to Sargsyan: Conditions put forward for resumption of negotiations undermine peace process on settlement

Azerbaijani FM: Russia has offered a phased solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Zaruhi Postanjyan: Large-scale armed hostilities in Artsakh are yet to start

Areximbank-GPB Group staff members visit schools in Armavir region under My Finance Month-2016 project

Armenia's Parliament Vice Speaker: No negotiations are possible unless Azerbaijan stops violating ceasefire

U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez Calls for Leahy Law Investigation of Azerbaijani Abuses

Bako Sahakyan says Karabakh will cede no land and urges world community to reconsider its attitude towards aggressor

Bako Sahakyan: Karabakh conflict cannot be settled, unless Artsakh in involved in peace talks

Konstantin Kosachev: Turkey's stance on Karabakh encourages of one the sides to the conflict to continue it

Azerbaijan continues violating ceasefire arrangements

Armenian Defense Ministry registers 18 incidents on border with Azerbaijan

SCR: Number of railway casualties in Armenia keeps increasingly growing

Ankara hopes Karabakh conflict will be resolved with due regard for 'sovereignty' of Azerbaijan

Beeline extends functions of My Beeline Armenia application

Nikol Pashinyan: Opposition exaggerates Electoral Code's role in holding fair elections

France-Karabakh Circle of Friendship perplexed by lack of Paris' official reaction to Baku's explicit threats

Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army presented evidences of rocket bombardment of Mataghis by Azerbaijani armed forces

Central Bank of Armenia approves merger agreement of ProCredit Bank and INECOBANK

Stratfor forecast: Military escalation will continue to be a possibility in Nagorno-Karabakh, with effects that reach far beyond the bounds of the small contested territory

EU supports peaceful resolution of Karabakh conflict, Malena Mard says

Azerbaijan's armed forces fire more than 240 rounds at Karabakh positions and target Mataghis populated area overnight

Armenia's Defense Ministry: Azerbaijan shells at state border with Armenia

U.S. Department of State: We have remained in contact with both governments and we need to see the peace process back up and running as soon as possible

Manvel Sargsyan: Armenia due to reconsider fundamentally its 20-year-long policy towards Russia

Seyran Ohanyan: There will be no new dismissals in Armenia's defense system

Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army: Adversary's movements noticed on northeastern direction of line of contact

Artsrun Hovhannisyan: Situation in Artsakh is quiet at the moment

Yerevan: The time has come for international community to call Baku to order by using specific measures

Arpine Hovhannisyan: Mihran Poghosyan case is being investigated

Russian foreign ministry: the primary task is to exclude regular outbreak of aggression

Three Armenian servicemen wounded on Line of Contact of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani troops

Investigative Committee: Identity of the second killed passenger is established

National Revival: Hermine Naghdalyan's statement is a stab in the back of Artsakh soldier

Communist Party of Russia suggests Vladimir Putin to deploy missiles in Cuba to protect Russia and Armenia

Russia thinks military contacts of Baku and Yerevan may be continued

NKR Defense Army: Baku's reports that Armenian side allegedly uses ammunition banned by international conventions are delirium

Oskanian's party not to demand Serzh Sargsyan's resignation

Stepanakert condemns Baku's attempts to denounce unilaterally the trilateral cease-fire agreement of 12 May 1994

Russian Foreign Ministry: Contribution to search for optimal solutions in Nagorno-Karabakh peace process continued

David Babayan: Politicians who fill their stomachs with caviar or pockets with oil revenues and glorify dictatorships are terrorists too

NKR Defense Ministry calls on Azerbaijan to stop using civilians as human shield

Nikolay Bordyuzha: Flare-up of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict "will blow up the entire Caucasus"

Armenia's Deputy Minister of Defense and OSCE CiO Personal Representative discuss situation in Karabakh

Azerbaijani armed forces open sporadic fire at state border with Armenia overnight

NKR Defense Army soldier killed, as Azerbaijan intensifies shelling

Hayazn Party demonstration demands from authorities not to make any territorial concessions in Karabakh issue

Armenian lawmaker stresses the need to boycott Turkish goods and to ban import of any Turkish products

Regional

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

Interview of Ambassador of Belarus to Armenia, Stepan Sukhorenko, with ArmInfo news agency

  • by Marianna Mkrtchyan

  • Tuesday, June 18, 04:12

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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