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29 Dec 2014

Belarus president clarifies peacekeeping intentions

MINSK, 29 December (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made several comments on 29 December in response to mass media speculations regarding the intentions to use the Belarusian army for peacekeeping purposes, BelTA has learned.

“If our military personnel go somewhere as peacekeepers, I will be the first to go there. I want them to know it. My eldest son, who takes care of these problems today, will be there, too,” stressed the head of state. “I am not going to send anyone anywhere while I am already getting criticized,” added the President.

The head of state spoke about the conflict in Ukraine: “It is not someone else’s conflict. It is a conflict at our door”. “We should do our best to tune down the conflict or eliminate it. If we can pull it off, we, the men, and I as the commander in chief, we will do it,” continued Alexander Lukashenko. “We don’t ask for it, we don’t force our way in and have never tried to. If we are asked to do it, we will if we can”.

The President spoke about results of the recent session of the contact group on Ukraine that meets in Minsk from time to time: “They came to terms on few things but the decision to exchange POWs was made. And we can see that the exchange has begun as mass media report”.

“I think the next meeting will take place soon. But the decision to meet has not been made yet. There is no way out but meetings and negotiations,” Alexander Lukashenko was convinced.

The situation in Ukraine was discussed during the meeting of the Belarusian head of state with Ukraine President Piotr Poroshenko. “Separating the warring parties is the key problem if we talk about the negotiations held with the president of Ukraine. Now the Ukrainian army and the militia are in touch. It is necessary to separate them at least by 30km. And it is necessary to control the zone to prevent any clashes, it is necessary to remove heavy weapons,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

Closing the border with Russia is another problem for Ukraine. “There is huge distrust. President [Piotr Poroshenko] said directly: I would be very grateful if Belarusians could help us in this regard,” said Alexander Lukashenko. The head of state said he had invited his Ukrainian counterpart to decide how Belarus could help resolve these problems.

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