Syria, Belarus : Historic Relations, towards Prosperous Future

Syrian-Belarusian relations have rapidly developed over the past few years based on a long history of friendship and understanding.

President Bashar al-Assad's visit to Belarus comes within the framework of enhancing the historic relations already built on confidence, respect, cooperation and coordination in the interest the people of both countries.

In 2003, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus paid a strategic visit to Syria, during which he held talks with President al-Assad on pushing forward bilateral cooperation in politics, economy and culture.

Speaking to SANA, Belarus Ambassador to Syria Aleg Yermalovich said "President al-Assad's visit is historic and will have a positive impact on developing Syrian-Belarusian relations."

In terms of economic cooperation, Yermalovich said Syria and Belarus help each other through economic exchange, hoping to upgrade this cooperation to the level of political relations.

He added that the two sides will discuss cooperation in car industry and machinery production to cover the local market. "Syria has rich technical expertise and cadres in mechanical engineering, which makes it the typical partner for carrying out such projects," the Ambassador added.

Chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vasily Romanov described Syrian-Belarusian trade relations as excellent, noting that they have not been affected by the global financial crisis.

In a statement to SANA, he said that talks during President al-Assad's upcoming visit to Belarus will tackle key issues to double trade exchange and industrial cooperation, and that a number of agreements will be signed to lay the legal foundation for future trade and industrial activities.

Romanov pointed out that an agreement on Syria's joining the Customs Union, which includes Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, is also scheduled to be signed during the visit. The agreement will facilitate the flow of Syrian products into the markets of these countries.

Belarus has on different occasions expressed support to the Arab just demands of solving the Arab-Israeli conflict and achieving a just and comprehensive peace in accordance with the international legitimacy. It has always stressed Syria's pivotal role in the region.

Official statistics indicated that Syrian-Belarusian trade exchange is steadily growing, ranging between USD 80 and 85 million.

The two countries work on establishing free trade zone to increase trade movement. Syria and Belarus are seeking to establish a joint company on tractors, buses and cars industry and a partnership in mining and manufacturing industries in their efforts to promote economic cooperation.

Syrian-Belarusian educational cooperation has always been fruitful and promising. Since 1965, more than 600 Syrian students have studied in different Belarusian universities.

Two cooperation agreements were signed between the National University of Belarus and Vitebsk State Technological University and Damascus University. In 2008, Syria hosted the Belarusian Cultural Days in which they performed Swan Lake Ballet and held an artistic exhibition on Belarus.

The Belarusian capital of Minsk hosted the activities of Syrian Cultural Week which included the screening of "Identity" film, a plastic arts exhibition and the performance of Canaanites Iliad by Ornina Dance Group.

Chairman of the Syrian-Belarusian Business Council: Free Trade Agreement with Belarus Opens Up Markets Containing 170 Million Consumers

In an interview with SANA, Chairman of the Syrian-Belarusian Business Council Riad Hamad said that the solid relations between the two countries form the basis for strong, advanced relations on economic levels, noting that establishing the Business Council is part of Syria's efforts to develop relations between the two countries.

He pointed out that the developing economic and commercial relations between Syria and Belarus in recent years led to an increase in trade exchange, adding that Belarus is an important market for Syrian products, adding that Belarus entered a customs union with Russia and Kazakhstan, meaning that a free trade agreement with Belarus will allow Syria products to enter the three countries' markets, which include 170 million consumers.

Hamad said that the Syrian side prepared a number of joint projects and feasibility studies covering agricultural, industrial and transport fields, which will be presented to the Belarusian side to discuss the possibility of cooperation, adding that Syria and Belarus are discussing the possibility of establishing bus and tractor assembly factories in Syria.

He also noted that Belarus businessmen have expressed desire to cooperate with Syria in exporting Syrian olive oil to Belarus and connected markets due to the good reputation of this products.

Hamad went on to affirm that President al-Assad's upcoming visit to Belarus will begin a new stage of relations and projects, pointing out that there are several agreements in the fields that are expected to be signed during this visit.

The agreements aim at facilitating trade exchange, boosting economic and customs cooperation, cooperation in standards and measurements, and encouraging investments in various fields.

Hamad concluded by saying that the importance of holding the first Business Forum during President al-Assad's visit to Belarus, as it will help promote investment in Syria and find suitable Belarusian partners for joint projects.


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