Updated at 15:40,13-12-2017

Foreign Minister Makey thanks Ukrainian president for helping Minsk mend ties with EU

By Dzmitry Ulasaw, BelaPAN

Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey on Friday thanked Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for helping Minsk restore its constructive dialogue with the European Union.

Mr. Makey met with the Ukrainian leader during his visit to Kyiv. They discussed topical issues on the agenda of bilateral relations and devoted particular attention to economic ties, said the Ukrainian presidents press office.

Messrs. Makey and Poroshenko reportedly noted the expedience of intensifying trade and economic relations through the expansion of cooperation in the engineering, energy, agricultural and transport sectors.

They emphasized the importance of completing infrastructure at the shared border in accordance with the worlds best standards, said the press office.

Mr. Poroshenko said that Kyiv was interested in the opening of Ukrainian-language schools that would provide education to ethnic Ukrainians in Belarus.

Under discussion also was the possibility of the joint celebration of 345 years since the birth of Pylyp Orlyk, a Zaporozhian Cossack hetman who wrote what is regarded as Ukraines first constitution. The prominent figure was born in what is now the Minsk region.

The Belarusian foreign ministrys press office, for its part, said that Mr. Poroshenko had expressed gratitude to Minsk for hosting international talks on the Ukraine crisis and stressed that the peace deal known as the Minsk Agreements was the only basis for the peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. Mr. Makey, in his turn, said that Belarus was ready to do its utmost toward securing peace in brotherly Ukraine, said the press office.

Mr. Makey presented the Ukrainian president with a Slucak (Slutsk) sash, a gift sent by Alyaksandr Lukashenka on the occasion of Ukraines independence anniversary.

Mr. Makey also met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Pavlo Klimkin, during his Kyiv visit. The ministers confirmed the importance of developing trade and economic cooperation and agreed that the Belarusian-Ukrainian Interstate Mixed Commission should hold a meeting in the near future, said the Ukrainian foreign ministrys press office.

Mr. Klimkin informed the Belarusian minister about the situation in Russian-annexed Crimea and the war-hit Donbas region.

Commenting on the recently celebrated 25th anniversary of Ukraines independence, Mr. Makey said, We understand today that one has to fight for independence.

According to the Belarusian foreign ministrys press office, Mr. Makey promised at the meeting that Minsk would be guided only by its national interests while building its relations with Ukraine.

While in the Ukrainian capital, Mr. Makey also met with Hennadiy Zubko, minister for regional development, construction and utilities, and Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko.