Foreign ministries of Belarus, France hold consultations in Minsk


The foreign ministries of Belarus and France held a new round of consultations in Minsk on Friday.

Deputy Minister Valery Varanetski led the Belarusian delegation to the meeting, while the French delegation was headed by Roland Galharague, director of the continental Europe department.

Under discussion were issues relating to the political dialogue between the two countries, their trade and economic cooperation and the legal basis for bilateral relations, said the press office of the Belarusian foreign ministry.

Participants also discussed the development of the dialogue between Belarus and the European Union within the EU's Eastern Partnership and other programs, cooperation between Belarus and France in the framework of international organizations and some aspects of international politics and security, the press office said.

The foreign ministries agreed to continue "constructive cooperation" in areas of mutual interest, such as further rapprochement between Belarus and the EU, the press office said.

According to official statisticians, trade between Belarus and France dropped by 32.2 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2009 to $322.8 million, with Belarus' exports falling by 23.3 percent to $49.5 million and imports by 33.6 percent to $273.3 million.

In the first six months of 2009, French investment in Belarus reportedly totaled $10.8 million, a 2.5-fold year-on-year decrease. French direct investment dropped 15 times to $58,500.

In Belarus, there are 41 companies involving French capital, including 18 French-owned ones. French contributions to their registered capital total $4.8 million. //BelaPAN