/ Civil Georgia, Tbilisi /
Belarus is prepared to stengthen ties with Georgia, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said during talks with visiting Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili on September 17.
"We are fully committed to restoring and developing ties with Georgia, making them even stronger than during the Soviet period," the Belarussian president's press office quoted Lukashenko as saying.
As for trade, Lukashenko stressed that the actual level of trade turnover did not reflect the potential of the two countries, adding that it should increase to, at least, USD 100 million per year.
After Russia imposed economic sanctions, Georgia is desperately seeking for new markets to sell its wine and agricultural products.
The two sides also discussed security issues. "Alexander Lukashenko stressed his country's readiness to promote the establishment of relations in this field," Lukashenko's press office reported.
The meeting marks a change in tone in the relationship between the two countries.
Last year witnessed a deterioration, with Tbilisi openly backing the Belarussian opposition in the March 19 presidential elections. The Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned the polls as undemocratic and said they were held in "an atmosphere of intimidation." President Saakashvili even described Lukashenko's regime as "a dark force" trying to oppress democracy.