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27 May 2015

Belarus calls for restoring peace, stability in Ukraine’s east

MINSK, 27 May (BelTA) – The restoration of peace and stability in eastern regions of Ukraine is a top-priority task. Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei made the relevant statement in an interview with The Washington Post newspaper, BelTA has learned. The interview has been published by the Ministry’s website.

Vladimir Makei remarked that Ukraine is Belarus’ second largest trade and economic partner after Russia in the ex-USSR. “We would not like the area to become a hotbed of instability and armed conflict. From the outset we have been against dividing Ukraine. We would like Ukraine to stay an important partner for us and for other countries. But things happened,” stated the Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs. “The top-priority task today is to restore peace and stability in the eastern regions of Ukraine where blood runs free. It is necessary to preserve what remains of Ukraine as an integral state. Talking about other matters on top of the existing agreements will be possible later on.”

The Minister reminded that Belarus’ stance on the Ukrainian conflict has been absolutely sincere from the very start. “As neighbors, as friends, as a brotherly nation we would like peace and stability restored over there as soon as possible. When our president suggested Minsk as the platform for negotiations at various levels, he absolutely didn’t think about the Nobel Prize or some other award. We just wanted the war stopped far away from our doorstep. Taking into account our historical experience Belarus would not like war to visit our lands once more. If the armed conflict continued growing larger, it could involve Belarus, you never know,” said the official.

According to Vladimir Makei, this is why Belarus has done everything to prevent the conflict from growing larger. “Thank goodness, the Minsk accords still hold. Yes, there have been certain violations, but these agreements have created the foundation for further negotiations,” noted the Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Asked whether the scenario of the conflict in Ukraine’s east can be repeated in Belarus, the official said: “I see absolutely no threat like that for Belarus. There are many reasons to explain it. First, we are not going to sway from Russia to Europe and backwards like Ukraine’s former government did. Second, we have good control over the state and the economy,” explained the Minister. “The experience of some European countries in conditions of the financial and economic crisis indicates that the state should not relinquish control over economic processes in the country, particularly in difficult situations. This is why unlike in Ukraine back then our government’s grip on economic and political processes in the country is strong.”

Vladimir Makei also pointed out that Belarus is a self-determined independent state, which economic policy and foreign policy are shaped by national interests. “We are not going to follow instructions originating from capitals of any major powers regardless of where they are located,” stressed the Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Our relations with the European Union, the United States of America, Russia, and other countries confirm it.”

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