MINSK, March 11 (RIA Novosti) – Belarus and Russia must join efforts tapping into promising and lucrative Latin American markets, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday.
“We are respected and welcome there. They are looking at us as an alternative. We must work together and implement many joint projects there,” Lukashenko said at a meeting with Governor of the Omsk region Viktor Nazarov in Minsk.
“Whoever comes there now, will enjoy huge economic gains,” he said.
Lukashenko, who has recently attended the funeral of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, said Latin America would continue developing in the same way after the death of his “close friend.”
“There will be a lot of activity there because the entire continent has come into motion, and we still know little about it,” the Belarusian president said.
Venezuela and Belarus have strengthened their cooperation since 2006 by signing some 200 accords that let Venezuela use Belarusian technology to expand its industrial capabilities and allowed Belarus access to oil and natural gas deposits in the Latin American country.
Belarus is currently involved in oil production at seven oil and six gas deposits in Venezuela.
During Lukashenko’s visit to Caracas in June last year, Venezuela and Belarus signed more than 20 agreements to boost bilateral cooperation in the areas of oil and gas, industry, housing and agriculture.
Belarusian media reported on Monday that Lukashenko and Bolivian President Evo Morales have agreed to develop the Belarusian-Bolivian relations using the Venezuelan model during talks in Caracas after Chavez’s funeral.
Meanwhile, ties between Russia and Venezuela flourished under Chavez, whose 14-year-rule brought Moscow a number of lucrative arms and oil deals.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who also attended Chavez’s funeral, praised the charismatic Venezuelan leader on Saturday for helping Moscow to reach a new level of partnership with Latin American countries.
Lavrov said Russia is interested in expanding cooperation with Latin American countries, adding that most regional leaders have similar views on addressing global issues.
Russia is currently maintaining active relations with a number of Latin American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela.