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A gift exchange and the barbs to the west. The second day of Lukashenko’s visit to Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, the Belarusian president thanked the West for imposing sanctions, which strengthened transactions between the countries. The gift exchange involved a tractor and a stuffed lion.

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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday for a three-day state visit aimed at strengthening diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Belarusian leader was received with pomp and circumstance on a trip marked by his first meeting with his counterpart in three years, an unexpected exchange of gifts and messages to Western countries.

The second day of the state visit began with a ceremony to hand over Belarusian farm equipment to Zimbabwean farmers. The occasion served as the setting for a gift exchange between the two rulers, in which Lukashenko presented his counterpart with a tractor, recalling a 2022 episode in which he offered the Russian president a certificate for a tractor. For his part, President Emmerson Mnangagwa offered the Belarusian leader a stuffed lion.

During the event, Lukashenko took the opportunity to lash out at the West, leaving words of gratitude for the sanctions implemented against both countries. “First I want to thank the Americans and the entire Western world for imposing sanctions on us.. Otherwise, it would not be the Belarusian tractors that would arrive this Tuesday in this huge field, but those from the USA and Germany, ”he said.

According to the Belta agency, the statements were received with applause from those present. Both nations, which have strong cooperation in the field of agriculture, are facing the consequences of Western sanctions. Zimbabwe is under restrictions due to human rights violations, while Belarus is sanctioned for supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The conflict, which has been going on for more than eleven months, was also one of the issues addressed by Lukashenko. When asked if Belarus felt an obligation to increase support for Russia in the face of the invasion, the ruler left a promise: “If our Russian brothers need help, we are ready to offer assistance”. He assured, however, that this is not the case for now.

Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, will visit Zimbabwe until Wednesday. Upon his arrival at Harare airport, his counterpart was waiting for him, in the first meeting between the two leaders since Mnangagwa’s visit to Minsk in 2019. In a warm welcome, the Belarusian president was greeted by an effusive crowd that applauded and whistled as he passed for.

Source: Observadora

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