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Russia’s Republic of Karelia strongly interested in cooperation with Belarus

13.12.2018
The Republic of Karelia is interested in advancing cooperation with Belarus along a large number of avenues. Head of the Republic of Karelia Artur Parfenchikov made the statement as he met with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk on 13 December, BelTA has learned.

During the meeting the Belarusian head of state mentioned a number of promising avenues for expanding cooperation with Karelia. The number includes manufacturing cooperation, sales of all kinds of machines, equipment, and vehicles, food trade, the sharing of the best practices and technologies in agribusiness, including in dairy cattle husbandry and fish farming. “Everything we’ve talked about is of great mutual interest. I think we should come up with a mutually beneficial result in any case. It is the only approach we have,” said Artur Parfenchikov.

In his words, a new plan to guide Belarus-Karelia cooperation over the course of three years was put together during the Russian delegation’s visit to Belarus. The plan is designed to invigorate cooperation in trade and other areas.

Artur Parfenchikov mentioned the production of forest harvesting machines of the Belarusian company Amkodor as a pilot project and the anchor project for Belarus-Karelia cooperation. “We’ve already implemented all the legislative measures in the republic to support this enterprise. This project will contribute to the development of the Belarusian production sector. No doubt, together we will be able to reach larger volumes. Not only in exploring the Russian market. We have very ambitious plans with regard to the foreign market, too,” stressed the head of the Republic of Karelia.

The sides are also interested in sharing the best practices in intensive forest exploitation, forest restoration, and consequent added-value wood processing.

Head of the Republic of Karelia Artur Parfenchikov talked to reporters after meeting with the Belarusian head of state. He mentioned good progress in some areas and promising avenues of cooperation. For instance, some of the equipment the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant needs is made in Petrozavodsk, the capital city of Karelia. There is interest in interaction in the area of robot technology and shipbuilding.

Agriculture and fish farming were also mentioned. Karelia is Russia’s indisputable leader in farming lake trout. “We’ve agreed that these products will be made available in Belarus soon. We have serious plans regarding the joint development of these industries both in Belarus and Karelia. We’ve agreed to share accomplishments in science – fodder production, genetics,” added Artur Parfenchikov.

The Karelian side also showed a strong interest in using Belarusian mechanical engineering products in the sphere of public transportation. “It was a pleasure to see the latest advances in hybrids and electric buses yesterday. I would like Belarusian vehicles to appear on Karelian roads soon. We are going to work on it, too,” said the head of Karelia.

Artur Parfenchikov stressed that Belarus-Karelia cooperation is not limited to trade and economic ties, but also includes culture and humanitarian ties. Karelia is home to quite a large Belarusian diaspora. A national and cultural autonomy has been created and the head of Karelia has Belarusian roots, too. “It is certainly very important to enable direct flights between Minsk and Petrozavodsk. We’ve discussed it with the president of Belarus today. Our residents would very much like such flights. Direct air service would contribute to business activities and the development of tourism,” said Artur Parfenchikov.