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9 Jan 2020

Belarus president criticizes Russia for overpriced oil

Belarus president criticizes Russia for overpriced oil

MINSK, 9 January (BelTA) – Several aspects of Belarusian-Russian negotiations on prices for oil and natural gas were revealed by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko during the ceremony held in the Palace of the Republic on 9 January to confer a number of special prizes upon outstanding Belarusians, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “Why haven’t we come to terms on oil deliveries with the Russian president yet? Because Russia wants us to buy oil at prices above the world ones. Totally unacceptable. This is why I’ve rejected the offer to buy such oil and plainly said we will find oil in some other place if Russia refuses to sell oil at the world price. And we have found oil.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko also made some comments about negotiations on prices for Russian natural gas for Belarus. He described his arguments as simple: “The 75th anniversary of the Great Victory is near. We are shouting about it from every rooftop both in Russia and Belarus. But today Gazprom earns three times as much in Belarus than in Germany. Is it normal? It is abnormal,” the head of state stressed.

The sides have reached an agreement on supplying natural gas on previous terms for a certain period of time for now. “When we decided to sell [the Belarusian gas transport system operating company] Beltransgaz in 2011, we had an inflexible agreement that Russian domestic prices for natural gas will be enabled over the course of five years,” Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded. “Someone may have forgotten it but I haven’t. This is why I insist it must be done.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that after the negotiations on oil and natural gas began, representatives of the Belarusian opposition woke up for some reason and started shouting about the loss of sovereignty. He said they believe Belarus should have severed tight relations with Russia a long time ago. “If we did that, you and I wouldn’t exist now. Russia is not just a huge country and a friendly nation. It is a country we bought raw materials from. And most importantly it is our common market since there is an abundance of raw materials, we can buy them in any country. We reworked and refined everything in this space. If you look at the neighborly country of Ukraine, you will see what can happen and what may have happened [in Belarus]. Partially because everything was torn apart and broken and left bleeding,” Aleksandr Lukashenko believes.

Despite complicated negotiations with Russia the head of state underlined that no other nation in the world treats Belarusians with greater respect than Russians. “Negotiations between the leaders of the countries and the elites may be rough at times, but you have to look deeper. You will see that Russians are our kind of people. They are brothers always ready to help us out in time of need. Even if we don’t come to terms with Russia, it will be no catastrophe. We will live at least as well as we did in 2019. We will not get rich overnight but we will not perish in any case. Times have changed: we’ve found our feet thanks to our hard work,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned confidential reports he had been made familiar with recently. The reports focus on Belarus’ policy and Belarusians are described as educated and hardworking people, who will not take something that does not belong to them. “It means a lot. We should be like that. We should live in our own country. We should understand what we live for. And we shouldn’t look askance at our neighbors, particularly Russians. Someone wants the two nations to be at odds with each other. If we yield, we will have no future,” the head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko described relations between Belarusians and Russians as an indicator of how cooperation between neighbors and cooperation in general should develop – even between the USA and Iran. “There was a bit of a scuffle, a bit of face slapping and now they are quietly coming to terms,” the head of state said to describe relations between these countries. “This is why don’t think that someone from the West or the East will come and bring us happiness. Happiness is in our own hands,” the Belarusian leader concluded.

“If we can do as well as these outstanding Belarusians, who are about to come out onto this stage, can do or at least half as well as they do, we will definitely preserve our sovereign state and make it stronger. Let’s work for it,” the president appealed.

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