VITEBSK, 21 May (BelTA) – Estonian town of Kohtla-Jarve would like to establish contacts with Vitebsk Oblast, Kohtla-Jarve Mayor Ljudmila Janchenko said as she met with Vitebsk Oblast officials at the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee, BelTA has learnt.
“In my view, the most promising areas of cooperation between our regions include culture and education. We have already established cultural ties. Belarusians often come to us for vocal and dancing contests and festivals and sports events. We are also interested in establishing contacts with the Belarusian business community. We are an industrial region specializing in oil shale production; we also have a technology park,” Ljudmila Janchenko said. In her words, the region offers preferential terms for entrepreneurs, for example, there is no tax on profits. The mayor added that this summer medical students from Kohtla-Jarve will undertake internships at Vitebsk healthcare facilities.
Chairman of the Vitebsk Oblast Council of Deputies Vladimir Terentiev suggested more active participation in cultural and sports events and projects. He invited Estonian performers to take part in festivals in Braslav, Postavy, Dubrovno, Glubokoye, the International Festival of Modern Choreography IFMC and Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk. “We are open for cooperation. We are interested in your expertise and knowledge, in particular, in education, because we know full well that Estonia’s education system is among the world’s best,” Vladimir Terentiev underlined.
The parties discussed promising areas of cooperation, including healthcare, education, culture, sport and local self-governance. The Estonian delegation invited their Belarusian counterparts to return a visit to share best practices and study the education system and electronic document management in Estonia.
“The parliaments of our countries have been cooperating for a long time already. I would like to thank Belarus’ Embassy in Estonia for their efforts. The diplomatic mission has done a lot to promote bilateral contacts at the level of local self-governance. A cooperation agreement was signed between Kohtla-Jarve and Soligorsk. The two towns have been maintaining very good relations. Nevertheless, we want to expand the geography of our contacts. Naturally, cultural projects have always served as a springboard for that. I hope they will be followed by economic cooperation,” Estonian MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for Relations with Belarus Valeri Korb said.
Belarusian MP Viktor Mirosh noted that Belarus and Estonia will keep working to take the parliamentary contacts to a new level. “As an MP representing Vitebsk Oblast I will promote all kinds of contacts with our region,” the MP noted.
The Estonian delegation will have a busy schedule in Vitebsk Oblast. They will tour a number of educational and sports facilities, as well as museums and enterprises of the region.
The town of Kohtla-Jarve consists of several discontiguous parts. The population of Kohtla-Jarve municipality is estimated at about 150,000 people. The town is also very diverse ethnically: it is home to people of over 50 ethnic groups, including Belarusians.