Cooperation with China, attracting tourists, involving the church - state press digest
Belarus and China sign contracts totaling $20 million. The authorities build a large solar power station on land contaminated by the Chernobyl catastrophe. Aliaksandr Lukashenka participates in the CIS Summit for the first time since 2011.
A delegation of the European Commission visit the Belarusian NPP. The Belarusian President hopes that the Belarusian Orthodox Church will play a more active role in society.
This and more in the new edition of the state press digest.
A delegation of the European Commission visit the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Experts from the European Commission and Belarus met last week. The two sides exchanged plans and proposals to improve the situation at the Belarusian nuclear power plant. The Belarusian side confirmed that stress tests can held in December of next year. Deputy Director-General of the European Commission Gerassimos Thomas said that the European Union is looking for new opportunities to establish relations with Belarus in various spheres. The Astraviec NPP can become not only a competitive and profitable energy resource but also "an important geopolitical element", writes Belarus Segodnya.
Lukashenka attends the 25th Summit of the CIS in Bishkek. Representatives of various former Soviet Union countries gathered in the capital of Kyrgyzstan in order to discuss the future of the CIS.The President of Belarus attended the CIS Summit for the first time since 2011, writes Narodnaya Gazeta.
Despite having similar views on the importance of the CIS as a geopolitical platform, many heads of state, including the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan, emphasised the low efficiency of the CIS in several areas. Nevertheless, all parties agreed that the CIS has a future. Almazbek Atambayev expressed his hope that the CIS will remain a project that unites friendly nations.
Ministers of Foreign Affairs conducted a panel session during the summit. Uladzimir Makiej expressed his opinion that the CIS is still the most important platform for the discussion of new challenges in the post-Soviet space. The Foreign Ministers of Belarus and Russia weighed in on issues of counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation. In addition, parties came to the decision that 2017 will be declared the Year of the Family in the CIS.
Belarus and China sign contracts worth $20 million. The Fifth China-Eurasia Expo took place in Xinjiang from 20 to 25 September, where 40 organisations and enterprises represented Belarus. According to the director of the unitary enterprise "Belinterexpo", Jauhien Uviadzienski, the Belarusian exhibition was highly popular from the very beginning, reports Zviazda. Mikalaj Snapkoŭ, Deputy Chief of The Presidential Administration, presented Belarus at a meeting entitled "China and Belarus - strategic partnership and trust".
During the briefing, participants discussed the potential for investment and tourism in the framework of Belarus-China cooperation. Both countries signed contracts on the development of cooperation and new supplies, totaling $20 million, in the fields of engineering, petrochemistry and food industries. As such, the confectionery factory Spartak settled a three year agreement with a Chinese sailing company. During the Expo representatives of Minsk Automobile Plant discussed co-production of electrobuses with JI WINWAY INVESTMENT CORP. OF CHINA and HARRY GAO Chairman enterprises.
Belarus builds its biggest solar power station near Brahin. The solar power station, with a 18.48MW capacity, is capable of saving up to 7,000 cubic metres of natural gas per hour. The total cost of the solar battery comes to €24 million. Velcom, the mobile operator responsible for its construction, announced that the plant is ready four months earlier than planned, writes The Minsk Times.
Located near Brahin, the station presents an example of an effective use of the lands contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster. Currently, the solar power station is the largest solar battery in Belarus with a total area of sixty football fields.
LLK-Naftan begins to cooperate more closely with Iran. The Navapolack based oil company has sent the first batch of lubricating oil additives to Iran, writes Vitebskie Vesti. Until the beginning of 2016, economic sanctions were a significant obstacle for Iranian enterprises. However, following the sanctions' removal, Iran organised an oil conference in Tehran, in which LLK-Naftan participated.
As a result, the two sides have signed a contract of cooperation, according to which the Belarusian enterprise will supply 50 tonnes of lubricating oil additives to Tehran. Currently LLK-Naftan is the largest producer of lubricating oil additives in the Post-Soviet space and has more than 25 international partners. Meanwhile, General Director of LLK-Naftan Michail Babuškin maintains that cooperation with Iran is taking place in an environment of strong competition.
Hrodna region attracts more and more foreign tourists. From January to July 2016 the region brought in $4.2 million, accounting for 128.8% of last year's income from tourism. The introduction of a visa-free regime in the region explains the increasing amount of tourists, writes Hrodzenskaya Prauda. The most popular reason to visit the region remains health services. Deputy Minister of Sport and Tourism Michail Partnoj says that Belarus has recently been ranked among the top 10 countries for expected level of investment in the tourism sector.
Alexander Lukashenka expects more active participation of the Church in society. The President of Belarus believes that the Orthodox Church should help citizens in forming their cultural, civilizational and geopolitical orientation, writes Narodnaja Hazieta.
During a conversation with the Metropolitan of Minsk, Lukashenka noted that the Church can help not only in the socialisation and formation of moral values but also in other spheres. For example, the president proposed that the Belarusian Orthodox Church participate in the revival of historical and cultural monuments.
The Metropolitan of Minsk opined that the Belarusian Orthodox Church should serve as a partner and supporter of the state. At the end of the meeting, Lukashenka also noted that priests working in churches ought to be native Belarusians.
The state press digest is based on review of state-controlled publications in Belarus. Freedom of the press in Belarus remains restricted and state media convey primarily the point of view of the Belarusian authorities. This review attempts to give the English-speaking audience a better understanding of how Belarusian state media shape public opinion in the country.