“Minsk proves its status as a reliable partner for Baku”
    Belarus pundit on Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  20 May 2024 - 16:53

    Vadim Mansurov
    Caliber.Az

    Caliber.Az presents an interview with Anatoly Boyashov, Candidate of Political Science, Chief Advisor of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies.

    - The state visit of President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko to Azerbaijan turned out to be very rich in terms of its programme. It is obvious that we are witnessing an active expansion of the partnership between Baku and Minsk. In your opinion, what aspects can be highlighted here that are of strategic importance?

    - First of all, I would like to note that the state visit of the President of the Republic of Belarus is a landmark event that confirms the fraternal friendship and close co-operation throughout all the years of independence. Alexander Lukashenko maintains warm, trusting relations with Ilham Aliyev, knew and worked closely with Heydar Aliyev. Last year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of the national leader of the Azerbaijani people.

    In my opinion, the agreements on expanding industrial cooperation and launching joint production facilities for the reconstruction of Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur are of strategic importance. In general, Baku and Minsk have agreed on many things: for example, work is underway to launch joint production of complex mineral fertilisers, fire-fighting equipment, lift equipment, medical products. It is also planned to increase production capacity of joint assemblies of Minsk Tractor Plant and Ganja Automobile Plant, expand production of electric buses and grain harvesters. There is an agreement to increase Belarusian exports of cattle and dairy products and expand exports of wood products.

    Humanitarian cooperation will also be strengthened, particularly in the field of vocational technical education. New universities are being built in the liberated territories, where the experience of Belarusian specialists will come in handy. In addition, contacts in the field of sport are expected to intensify, especially in martial arts, such as taekwondo, sambo, judo, and hand-to-hand combat.

    - The visit of the President of Belarus to the liberated territories covered several districts at once. The visit of the leaders to Shusha was very memorable in terms of its intensity. What is the attitude of Belarus to the fact that Azerbaijan liberated its territories? What would you highlight from the visit to Shusha?

    - Indeed, acquaintance with Shusha made a deep impression on President Lukashenko. It is undeniable that Shusha has become a model of constructive policy and the launch of a peaceful development agenda in the region. In addition to its critical infrastructure, logistics and military significance, Shusha stands out as the cultural and historical centre of Azerbaijan. This forms the basis for the creation of a kind of benchmark for the revival of the liberated territories, a special regional identity for the country and the Azerbaijani people. For this reason, I think the visit of the presidents to the Creative Centre restored by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation underlined the high importance of museums and monuments and, as a consequence, historical memory in the development of the liberated area. I think the reference character of Shusha's development also includes well-functioning management mechanisms, that is why the presidents during their visit to Shusha paid attention to modern technologies of public transport and unified centres of state services. In this case, it is the launch of electric buses in Shusha and the establishment of the "ASAN Xidmət" public service centres.

    - The Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISR) has been actively cooperating with the Azerbaijani Centre for Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center) for many years, including a joint analysis of the potential of logistics in the liberated territories. Can you tell us about this in more detail?

    - The Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISR) was established by the President of the Republic of Belarus on 12 February 2019 to provide information and analytical support for the activities of state bodies and officials in strategic areas of foreign and domestic policy. Already in 2019, on 5 November, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the BISR and the Air Center. Since then, we have maintained regular interaction at the level of management and analysts. We very much appreciate the opportunity to exchange experience with Azerbaijani analysts directly and without intermediaries to ensure the strategic national interests of our countries. We thank all the expert community in Azerbaijan, with whom we work, for their cooperation.

    In early 2024, analysts from BISR and Air Center conducted a joint study on the prospects of interfacing international transport corridors involving Azerbaijan and Belarus. The study resulted in an analytical report on the transport and logistics priorities of the two countries, the potential of interfacing international transport corridors, as well as directions for intensifying bilateral cooperation. The report, in particular, is published on the Air Center website. In general, we have come to the conclusion that it is expedient to hold an inter-regional forum between Belarus and Azerbaijan, that there are favourable prospects for launching joint production of containers and rolling stock, that risks and models of conflict prevention should be studied. We are ready to further develop our expert cooperation.

    - Judging by the results of the visit, Belarus intends to engage in a big construction project in Karabakh. Minister of Architecture and Construction Ruslan Parkhamovich told about Belarus' plans to build a settlement for 420 families in Karabakh. What kind of know-how in this area can Minsk share?

    - Belarus pays special attention to the balanced development of urbanisation processes. Over the last 20 years, more than 60% of the housing stock in Belarus has been built in rural areas. There is experience in creating the infrastructure of satellite cities and so-called small towns. Among other things, an original model has been developed for the construction of such a type of rural settlement as an agro-town; here we are talking about the comprehensive development of the connection between the settlement and the district, the construction of a developed economic infrastructure, not just housing. This implies comfortable transport connections, easy access to public buildings, taking into account the needs of residents for kindergartens, schools and modern polyclinics. So Belarus has something to offer Azerbaijan in this sphere.

    - At the beginning of the visit, analysts said that an important moment could be the topic of regional security, where the leaders have a lot to discuss with each other. In this connection, the military component of cooperation between our countries is probably also important...

    - Without big words, Ilham Aliyev's wise policy has turned Azerbaijan into a key player in regional integration processes. I think that Baku will retain its leading position in the future thanks to political stability, an effective system of state governance, professional diplomacy and well-functioning mechanisms for the revival of the new Azerbaijan. I have no doubt in one thing: Belarus and Azerbaijan will always give each other a shoulder. And Minsk consistently proves again and again its status of a reliable partner in the field of military-technical cooperation. Taking into account the fact that Baku has real combat experience and the need for new weapons, the highly developed and years-tested military-industrial complex of Belarus will continue to be in demand for the systematic modernisation of Azerbaijan's defence capability and the confident consolidation of the peaceful development agenda.

    Caliber.Az

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