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Opinions & Interviews

23 Mar 2018

Belarus president eager to discuss proposals, problems with European Union

Belarus president eager to discuss proposals, problems with European Union

MTSKHETA, 23 March (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has a lot of proposals and problems he would like to discuss with the European Union. The Belarusian head of state made the relevant statement in an interview with the Georgian television on 23 March, BelTA has learned.

Asked why he did not attend the Eastern Partnership Initiative summit in Brussels in late 2017, Alexander Lukashenko said: “Such trips are usually planned in advance. Our minister of foreign affairs was getting ready to go there. Why shouldn’t I trust my minister? So he went to the summit. Moreover, he was ready for the problems on the summit’s agenda. I think that time will come when I visit the summit, too.”

The head of state explained that it would depend on what problems the summit would focus on and what tangible results could be produced. “I now have a lot of proposals and problems that we should discuss with the European Union. Those are their problems, our problems, Russian problems, and even probably Georgian problems. I have my own perspective on things. I will reveal it when time comes. I have something to say,” said the Belarusian leader.

The president was also asked about his demands of the European Union. “You know, I have absolutely nothing to demand from them. I just want Belarus to be respected. I want them to know there is such a country in the center of Europe. The European Union needs to understand the value Belarus offers now. The European Union has a problem with Ukraine at present. Not only Russia has a problem but the European Union does, too. There are problems to the north of Belarus where there are virtually no roads. And Belarus represents virtually 1,000km of a trouble-free corridor for the European Union on one side and Russia and China on the other side. For Georgia, too,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

“We would like the European Union to see it and appreciate it. Let’s say, we don’t want unilateral economic measures or our products getting blocked by the European Union. If we have to deal with import duties, that’s bearable. Although there is some movement in this regard already. Regarding textiles and so on,” noted the head of state.

Alexander Lukashenko added that Belarus does not need lessons in democracy. “We know how to read textbooks. We see the democratic country of Georgia and democratic Europe. We see everything. We see positive things and shortcomings. But Belarus has peculiarities of its own. The European Union has to understand that there is no need to push us from behind. It is not a demand. It is my wish. That’s what I am telling Europeans,” said the Belarusian leader.

Alexander Lukashenko also noted that forcing Belarus to choose who to cooperate with and develop relations with is also unacceptable. “We don’t even want to talk about it. We are an independent nation with a foreign policy of our own. Multiple vectors are at the heart of our foreign policy. Avoiding making problems for our neighbors is part of the policy, too,” stressed the president.

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