Belarus hopes trade and economic cooperation with Syria will expand, Belarus' Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky said as he met with chairman of the People's Assembly of the Syrian Arab Republic Mr. Mahmoud Al-Abrash in Minsk.
"Our economies can be viewed as mutually complementary, which creates the prerequisites for boosting bilateral trade and economic cooperation," the Prime Minister said. Belarus pursues the policy of building up constructive cooperation with the Middle East countries and the Arab world in general. Syria is one of Belarus' key trading partners in the Middle East. Belarus views this country as a friend, as an important partner, influential and authoritative member of the international community. "Belarusian-Syrian relations rely on the solid basis of partnership, complete trust and aspiration to develop interaction across all sectors of the economy," Sergei Sidorsky said.
The Prime Minister expressed the confidence that the visit of the Syrian delegation to Belarus will help strengthen parliamentary links and find new avenues of mutually beneficial cooperation.
The Belarusian-Syrian trade has been steadily increasing. The trade between Belarus and Russia increased from USD 2.1 million in 1999 to USD 85.5 million in 2008. It reduced down to USD 57.7 million in 2009 due to the global economic crisis. Belarus' export made up USD 55.4 million, import from Syria- USD 2.2 million. Belarus' major export items are trucks and tractors, dried milk, synthetic fibers. Belarus imports fruits and vegetables, fabrics, medicines and other goods from Syria.
"I confirm that we will keep working on the creation of assembly production facilities of Belarusian machines - MAZ, MTZ and MZKT - in Syria. We have agreed on it during the visit of the Syrian premier to our country," Sergei Sidorsky said.
The Belarusian Premier noted that Belarus is interested in more vigorous business relations with Syria. Belarusian companies are ready to provide Syria with road construction machinery, quarry machines, medical equipment, expand the export of vehicles, metal products, bearings, milk powder and other goods. "I believe the implementation of joint projects will help considerably advance and expand the mutually beneficial long-term cooperation between Belarus and Syria," the Premier said.
The Belarusian government pins special hopes on the visit of the Syrian President to Belarus. "This visit will become a remarkable event in the history of the bilateral relations and a powerful impetus to the development of comprehensive cooperation. I am convinced that we have a great potential to expand cooperation to the benefit of the Belarusian and Syrian peoples," Sergei Sidorsky said. He noted that Belarus is a reliable partner of Syria in Eastern Europe and is ready for an open dialogue across a variety of issues.
Chairman of the People's Assembly of Syria Mahmoud al-Abrash, in turn, said that during the ongoing visit the Belarusian and Syrian sides will try to settle all the issues in the bilateral relations and discuss ways to promote the mutually beneficial partnership and speed up the fulfillment of joint projects. "The political cooperation between our countries, the relations between the presidents are sincere and transparent," the Chairman of the People's Assembly of Syria said. He is confident that the two countries will succeed in carrying out joint projects to set up assembly production facilities and boosting the trade. "The current level of the bilateral trade lags behind our true potential," he said. Mahmoud al-Abrash expressed confidence that Syrian businessmen will be offered interesting investment projects in Belarus.