A delegation from Russia's Nizhny Novgorod Oblast is paying a visit to Grodno and Grodno Oblast of Belarus, BelTA has learned.
Following the meeting with the authorities of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee, Deputy Chairman of the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast Legislative Assembly Committee on Social Issues Solomon Apoyan spoke about the prospects of cooperation. “The regions of Russia and Belarus boast long standing cooperation. We boast good economic achievements, cultural exchanges. The most important thing is to increase trade. We understand the importance of our cooperation very well. It helps the two parties solve many problems. We both have well-developed industry and agriculture. We have a special economic zone, and Grodno has a free economic zone. We will be discussing this strategic way of developing our economies. We consider joint projects within these zones with special economic conditions to be very important,” Solomon Apoyan said.
According to him, the most important area is agricultural production. He also mentioned that half of the equipment and technologies used in the Russian region are Belarusian-made. According to Solomon Apoyan, this sector needs to be further expanded.
“Belarus is the most important strategic partner for us. We need to develop cooperation not only at the level of top management, government. We need to develop relations between municipalities, enterprises. This should also include people's diplomacy, which is very important today, as it expands our opportunities,” Solomon Apoyan said.
As it was noted, this process will be actively promoted by the 2nd Congress of Small Towns, which will be held in a number of districts of Grodno Oblast on 22 September. In turn, Chairperson of the Grodno Oblast Council of Deputies Elena Pasyuta emphasized that the declared format was unique for Belarus and Russia. “It was a bottom-up movement. The main goal is to develop rural areas. It is important for both us and the Russian Federation to keep rural life alive and vibrant. This is where spiritual values are laid and cultural heritage is preserved. We realize that interests are also important in terms of regional development. I hope that this format will give an impetus to the development of all sectors of the economy, culture and education. The upcoming congress of small towns is expected to see six agreements concluded between our districts and municipalities of the Russian Federation. The most important issues of regional ties development will be discussed at the level of districts and administrations,” Elena Pasyuta said.
She went on saying that on 1 February 2005 an agreement was signed between Grodno Oblast and the government of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. “Yesterday we signed the agreement at the level of legislative power. Nizhny Novgorod Oblast is an important strategic partner for us. In addition to cultural and good neighborly ties, we are also linked by industries. We need to give impetus to our cultural and educational ties,” Elena Pasyuta believes.
The issues of the 2nd Congress of Small Towns will cover the agro-industrial complex, the activities of local government and self-government, tourism, culture and youth policy.