BELARUS READY TO BECOME 'WESTERN GATE' FOR KAZAKHSTAN - LUKASHENKO
Minsk. May 14. Interfax - Belarus is prepared for comprehensive cooperation with Kazakhstan and promotion of Kazakh interests in Europe, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at bilateral negotiations in Minsk on Monday.
"While regarding your country as a floor for strengthening our economic presence in the Central Asian region, Belarus is ready to be the Western gate for Kazakhstan," he said.
Lukashenko called for starting up "large joint projects not only in industries, but also in the energy sector, transport, logistics, new technologies and agro-industries."
Belarusian enterprises "wish their more active involvement in Kazakh state programs, including economic modernization projects," he said.
The presidents welcomed positive trade dynamics and agreed to double trade within a few years. "We are close to $1 billion in trade, and that indicator should be doubled. Trade grew by 70% in January-March thanks to the Customs Union," Nazarbayev said.
He called for building a transport corridor from Western Europe to Western China by Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia. Kazakhstan has started the construction of 2,700 kilometers of motorways within this project, he said.
In the words of Lukashenko, the construction of the transport corridor from China to the Atlantic Ocean will be discussed in Moscow on Tuesday. "We may halve the time of cargo traffic from Europe to China and back," he said.
The presidents agreed to hold annual meetings for controlling the fulfillment of the bilateral cooperation roadmap for the period until 2016.
They signed eight joint documents, among them a Belneftekhim-KazMunayGaz strategic cooperation memorandum and a cooperation agreement of the agriculture and food ministries.