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National Day Message by H. E. Mr. Aliaksandr Lukashevich, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Bulgaria

The Independence Day is celebrated on the 3rd of July in the Republic of Belarus. On this day in 1944, during the Operation Bagration, Minsk was liberated by the Nazi occupiers. This is a significant date for every inhabitant of our country. During the war, three million Belarusians died, 209 cities were destroyed, and more than 9,000 villages were destroyed.

But despite the destruction of the land and the genocide (the Nazis created more than 260 death camps and other places of mass extermination, by far more than in any other country), the invaders failed to break the spirit of the Belarusian people. The largest guerrilla resistance in Europe started unfolding, which two years after the beginning of the occupation controlled half of the country's territory. In the post-war period, a considerable heroic labor feat was also performed - the destroyed country was rebuilt and its economic potential was significantly increased.

Today Belarus is a sovereign European country with a developed economic and social model. The products of the Belarusian industry are exported to dozens of countries. Belarus is one of the largest exporters of potassium fertilizers in the world, occupying 30% of the world market of mining trucks and about 10% of the market of tractors and combines. In this chain of thoughts, the largest fleet of trucks in Europe "BelAZ" has been formed in Bulgaria. Belarusian universities are firmly entering the rankings of the best educational institutions, and specialists with Belarusian diplomas are in demand all over the world.

Belarus pursues an independent, peaceful foreign policy, actively cooperates with strategic allies and foreign partners in various parts of the globe, it is one of the initiators and active participants in the regional and integration structures and projects, it has a significant contribution to strengthening international security and stability.

Bulgaria is one of the first countries with which Belarus establishes its diplomatic relations. But our countries and peoples have known each other for a long time. We are united by the deep Slavic roots, Orthodoxy and the Cyrillic alphabet. Belarusians are among those who fought for the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke, and during the Soviet Union we worked closely together in the field of industrial production and processing of agricultural products. And although for objective reasons we have chosen different paths and different alliances, I am pleased to note that Belarusian-Bulgarian relations have always developed on the principle of mutual respect and constructive cooperation.

Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Belarus and Bulgaria. We approach this date with accumulated serious potential in bilateral cooperation.

In recent years, we have had meetings at the level of members of governments, including the first, in the history of our bilateral relations, official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus to Bulgaria. We maintain a dynamic and diverse interparliamentary dialogue. The trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation, the business contacts, the interaction in the field of culture and in the humanitarian sphere are stably developing.

Significant potential for the development of the whole spectrum of bilateral relations is embedded in regional cooperation, there are already 46 agreements related to twinning between districts and cities in Belarus and Bulgaria. By the way, in May this year a delegation from Plovdiv district visited the Brest region in Belarus and established twinning relations with the Belarusian cities of Stolin and Zhabinka.

At the same time, unfortunately, the exaggerated reaction of the West to the events in Belarus and the continuing unjustified sanctions pressure on the country do not contribute to creating an atmosphere of trust and understanding, which is necessary for the future development of the Belarusian-Bulgarian dialogue.

But I am optimistic about the future of our relations and I believe that common sense will prevail among European officials and we will work together to effectively realize the potential gained in our bilateral cooperation for the good and prosperity of our countries and peoples.

The photo was provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Republic of Bulgaria. On it: H. E. Mr. Aliaksandr Lukashevich, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Bulgaria