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Partnership for hope?2010-03-05 14:00
Tbilisi plans to start active agro-industrial cooperation with Minsk as announced by Jemal Inaishvili, chairman of Georgia's Chamber of Commerce. He believes Georgia is interested to buy Belarusian produce and foodstuffs. In the meantime the Georgian side intends to promote wines, mineral waters and citrus fruits in Belarus. What are the prospects of this cooperation?
Over recent five years Tbilisi-Minsk relations have gone through ups and downs. In 2005 Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko decided to introduce visa regime with Georgia. The Belarusian leader accounted such a decisive step for necessity to counteract organized transnational crime. As we know, the Georgian criminal world was actively using Belarus as a channel to enter Russia then.
Already in 2007 Lukashenko announced his firm intention to restore relations with Georgia and bring them to a higher level. "We are set to build good relations with Georgian comrades hoping to enhance them and bring them to a higher level compared to the Soviet period", - the president of Belarus said expressing satisfaction over the possibility to draw a line under the "period of chaos and confusion" and define bilateral relations between the countries. Tbilisi was optimistic too. Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili expressed hope to have tangible results from the Georgian-Belarusian dialogue.
Three years have passed but there are no extraordinary results seen in Georgian-Belarusian cooperation. The only achievement of the parties was ratification of international traffic treaty on increase in volume of passenger traffic and cargo shipments due to a number of benefits like exempting carriers of both sides from a traffic foundation tax, Georgian media report.
From time to time both Tbilisi and Minsk continue to speak about readiness to develop bilateral relations: during December's visit of Belarusian parliamentarians when the supreme legislative body of Belarus was deciding how to tackle Abkhazia's and South Ossetia's recognition problem. The same words are heard today.
A few days ago the Georgian-Belarusian business forum began in Minsk with the representative delegation of Georgian business people coming to the capital of Belarus led by Jemal Inaishvili, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. The event was organized by Belarusian Chamber of Commerce with its members taking part in the forum.