Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Hugo Chavez held talks in Minsk on September 9.
The leaders of Belarus and Venezuela familiarly thoued each other during the meeting, apparently trying to emphasize their cordial friendship.
Mr. Lukashenka said that he was planning to visit Venezuela soon. "We’ll soon discuss all issues with Caracas," he said. "We’ll travel through all Venezuela, from the sea to the mountains and look at coal and gold mines and oil fields." Belarus and Venezuela knew almost nothing about each other a few years ago, but now annual trade between the two countries totals hundreds of millions of dollars, and "if we implement what we have planned, it will amount to billions," Mr. Lukashenka said.
"I see you like what the Belarusians are doing in Venezuela, and if you like, we’ll continue to do that," he told Mr. Chavez . The Venezuelan president said to Mr. Lukashenka that he could visit Venezuela whenever he would like, "in November or December," to discuss the most efficient strategy of developing relations, and "spend a week or two there."
According to Mr. Chavez, while he was visiting the Minsk Automobile Factory (MAZ) on Tuesday, he was given the opportunity to drive a MAZ bus. "I liked to drive that bus. It ran very well," he said. "We’ll make them in Venezuela together with you."
Although all countries are experiencing problems because of the global economic crisis, the present world political system "serves a minority, not a majority," Mr. Chavez noted. "We should create something new, a new union of republics," he said. "But those won’t be a sort of Soviet socialist republics. Those will be free republics, each with its own system, but they will be united."