BELARUS President, Alexander Lukashenko was impressed by the warm and unique welcome he received during his three-day State visit to Zimbabwe, which his administration estimates yielded US$200 million in deals.
Sharing what she said were previously unreported details of President Lukashenko’s visit, his Press Secretary Mrs Natalya Eismont said on Sunday that he and President Mnangagwa also discussed ways through which both countries could co-operate in health care issues, specifically child and maternal health.
“You have already written a lot about food security in your reports,” she told Belarusian news agency, BelTA.
“It is ensured. It is, of course, very important. We continue to work in this direction. Here we have a follow-up topic on health care: maternal and infant mortality. This is the area in healthcare where Belarus has very good results. Here we can help our Zimbabwean friends: to support the babies who have just been born, feed them, and so on. The presidents talked a lot about the topic and also about other areas in health care. In the very near future, our health care Ministry will form a group of specialists who will immediately begin to implement the agreements reached by our head of state and his counterpart on the third day of the visit.”
President Lukashenko arrived in Harare on Monday last week on what was the first visit in history by a Belarusian leader to sub-Saharan Africa. The governments signed eight agreements covering, among others, provision of farm and mining machinery, co-operation in education and training. He visited the National Heroes Acre in Harare and Victoria Falls as well. Businesses also inked about five agreements at the second edition of the Zimbabwe-Belarus Business Forum held on Monday.
On the third day of the visit, Mrs Eismont said, President Mnangagwa told his guest how up to a dozen Sadc leaders had called him asking how the Government had succeeded in bringing President Lukashenko to Harare to sign so many important agreements. Minsk, she said, wants to grow its economic relationship with Mozambique and other Sadc nations, using Zimbabwe as the hub of that growth.
The visit by the Belarusian leader came three years after President Mnangagwa visited Minsk as part of the Government’s engagement and reengagement drive.
Speaking on the reception President Lukashenko received at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Mrs Eismont said the welcome was unique and impressive.
“Each country has its own traditions,” she said.
“I am convinced that if you host friends, you want to show your best. Therefore, such a broad gesture, such an amazing welcome, which really surprised and amazed us all. Songs and dances were stunning. All the attributes of the official welcome ceremony were there too. Our Zimbabwean colleagues said that many more people wanted to come and greet the Belarusian leader. This, firstly, shows their hospitality. Secondly, the attitude towards our president, our country, and all of us.”
Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Aleinik highlighted the possibility of trilateral work involving his country, Zimbabwe and Mozambique for the mutual development of the countries.
“We estimate the total economic effect of the visit [to Zimbabwe] at approximately US$200 million,” he told BelTA.
The Victoria Falls trip by the visitors could help attract more tourists from the Eastern Europe nation to the resort and others nationwide.
“I can also mention the third day of the visit. Victoria Falls. Of course, our media showed these stunning views of Zimbabwe’s nature,” said Mrs Eismont.
President Mnangagwa gifted President Lukashenko a stuffed lion and, in return, received a tractor from his guest.