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17 Nov 2017

No risks to cooperation with Russia in Belarus’ tighter relations with EU

MINSK, 17 November (BelTA) – The advancing relations between Belarus and the European Union pose no risks to cooperation with Russia. Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei made the statement after meeting with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel on 17 November, BelTA has learned.

Vladimir Makei said: “Our desire for closer relations with Germany and the European Union as a whole poses no risks to cooperation. Contrariwise, the more stable Belarus is, the more stable the situation in the region will be.”

Vladimir Makei remarked that relations with Russia and the European Union had been touched upon during negotiations with the German minister of foreign affairs, including during the meeting with the Belarus president.

Vladimir Makei said: “Germany has never forced Belarus to choose either the East or the West. We’ve never said we would advance our relations with Europe at the expense of Russia or vice versa. We’ve said we would love to have normal relations both with the East and the West because we understand we are located at the junction point of these two geopolitical players.”

The Belarusian minister of foreign affairs underlined that Russia is the key strategic ally for Belarus. The two countries are closely connected in politics, economy, military affairs, humanitarian affairs, and other spheres. “We’ve never tried to sever ties with Russia. Contrariwise, we’ve always said we would like to bolster these ties,” said Vladimir Makei.

At the same time Vladimir Makei noted that Belarus cannot disregard another important region — the European Union — which is Belarus’ second most important trade and economic partner. “We get investments and modern technologies from the European Union. This is why we just have to have normal relations with the European Union, including Germany,” noted Vladimir Makei.

The official went on saying that partners in the European Union had never made Belarus choose. “Our partners understand very well that in this situation we should work together. I am thankful to the German side because it supports the conjunction of Eurasian and European integration processes because it understands that it will reduce confrontation in our region and will bolster peace and security,” said the Belarusian minister of foreign affairs.


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