Belarus, Venezuela Confirm "Friendly, Brotherly" Relations

Text of report in English by Belarusian privately-owned news agency Belapan

Minsk, 23 July. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said that Belarus is ready to "solve any issues with Venezuela in a friendly, brotherly manner."

"We are pragmatics, we calculate all our actions financially," Lukashenka said during a meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Minsk today.

"But apart from this economy, you must know that you have true friends here. We will help you solve any of your problems," he said.

Lukashenka thanked his Venezuelan counterpart for "finding time for the visit despite being tired and busy because of flights and fighting for the protection of the country's independence."

For his part, Chavez said that "it would have been unthinkable for us to be travelling through [Belarus] and not stop by Minsk at least for a couple of hours to confirm yet another time everything that you have said."

The Venezuelan leader said that he wanted to examine the progress of implementing bilateral agreements during the visit.

Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka, Foreign Minister Syarhey Martynaw and the co-chairman of the Belarusian-Venezuelan Joint High-Level Commission, Viktar Sheyman, also attended the meeting.

Originally published by Belapan news agency, Minsk, in English 1341 23 Jul 08.