MINSK, 9 April (BelTA) – President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko expects the Catholic church to play a more active role in improving ties between Belarus and Western Europe. Alexander Lukashenko made the relevant statement as he met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to Belarus Paul Friedrich von Fuhrherr on 9 April due to the end of the ambassador’s diplomatic mission in Belarus.
Alexander Lukashenko said: “To tell you the truth, we counted on more in cooperation with the Catholic church. We believe that the Catholic church could obviously do more to establish ties between Belarus and Western Europe, let alone the European Union. It is known who is calling the shots there. Therefore, we would like to deliver this signal through you”.
The President told the Ambassador: “You have serious influence in the Holy See. There are many influential people there, who should at last have a look at what is going on in the country, which is home to the ex-USSR’s second largest Catholic confession and where good people, who want to be friends with Western Europe, live”.
The President thanked the Ambassador for his work in Belarus: “You have left a pleasant and significant impression of your efforts here. Unlike your colleagues, Western ambassadors, you are the man that has done its best to help Belarus and has done all the things for the benefit of the Belarusian nation”.
“Your mission has been aimed only at bolstering friendship between Belarus and the Order of Malta. After working here for eight years you have laid down the foundation for good relations between us,” said Alexander Lukashenko. He was confident the new ambassador of the Order of Malta will follow the same principles.
Alexander Lukashenko also thanked Paul Friedrich von Fuhrherr for promoting Chernobyl programs in Belarus, for aid, primarily aid to children, and for healthcare and culture projects.
“If you saw you could help with something, you did it. It means a lot,” said Alexander Lukashenko. “We would like all the Western ambassadors to work like that, establishing good relations with Belarus”.
In turn, Paul Friedrich von Fuhrherr said he had developed a very good attitude towards the Belarusian nation. In his words, within its capacity the Order of Malta tried to influence the dialogue between Belarus and the Western world.
The Ambassador said there is no other ex-USSR country that can boast the level of cooperation between the Orthodox church, the Catholic one and the state. In his opinion, there are issues to be addressed in relations between Belarus and the Catholic church.
The Ambassador said he was convinced the Order of Malta would be able to play a positive role in relations between Belarus and Western Europe.