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11 May 2017

Lukashenko explains his reaction to issues regarding food supplies to Russia

MINSK, 11 May (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko explained his harsh reaction to the issues regarding the supplies of Belarusian foodstuffs to Russia as he met with Governor of Russia’s Rostov Oblast Vasily Golubev on 11 May, BelTA has learned.

“As for my harsh reaction to this problem, the reason was not because Lukashenko is too emotional as some scribblers in Moscow say. It had nothing to do with emotions. The reason was because the dispute cost us a lot. If there is a common market, we should not put obstacles to each other,” the president said.

He remarked that if Russia does not need certain volumes of Belarusian products they should say it openly. Then these products will be sent to the markets of other countries and regions. At the same time, Alexander Lukashenko said that Belarusian products are in demand on the Russian market. “Then do not hamper our trade. If we compete with somebody, we should do it properly because we have a free market. I am not the initiator of this market economy. It came from Russia. And we must adjust to this economy,” the president said.

According to the head of state, Belarus delivers many agricultural products and foodstuffs to Russia, maintains direct ties with retail networks.

“Problems emerge sometimes. In general, they are created artificially. Because when I met with the Russian president we agreed to look at this issue from the angle of Alexander Surikov (Russian ambassador to Belarus – BelTA’s note). And he is right. If we want to overcome certain issues we must monitor everything that is moving across the border. As soon as we began to monitor this situation, it changed. The issue just disappeared. I hope it disappeared for good,” the Belarusian leader remarked. “We do not have fights yet. Certain experts from Russia, including those from Dankvert’s agency, have come to us. They have inspected our enterprises,” the head of state said.

He also mentioned the very high level of Belarusian food processing enterprises. “No more than a half of the enterprises in Europe meet such standards. The other half will be not as good. Therefore, do not lay claims to us. You must understand why I also respond to this so sharply,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “When the situation was difficult here, when we had to give people food stamps, we would save 2 or 3 rubles to modernize these enterprises in the future. We worked hard to accomplish this goal. And when some people reproach us (for certain reasons) that our products are not good enough, this is too much for us.”

The president also stressed that Belarus is the only country in the post-Soviet space that has kept the state quality standards and even made them more stringent. “Today our enterprises and farms sell only high-quality products, as they operate good quality management systems, and the products that does not meet standards do not get to the market,” the head of state assured.

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