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Opinions & Interviews

17 Nov 2016

Belarus ready to help organize local elections in Ukraine to promote peace settlement

Belarus ready to help organize local elections in Ukraine to promote peace settlement

MINSK, 17 November (BelTA) – Belarus is ready to contribute to peace in Ukraine and even help with the organization of local elections, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said at a press conference for Russian regional mass media on 17 November.

“If the two sides reach an agreement and ask Belarus for assistance, we are ready to play any role to help restore peace there. If you want us to help organize local elections, about which there is so much talking, we are ready to arrange them. If you want to bring order to the 400km-long border between Ukraine and Russia, we will do it. We will get involved if invited. We will not do anything at our discretion,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The head of state stressed that Belarusians should not be regarded as a third party who must do nothing but stand by. “This is not Syria. Today we arrest scumbags with ammunition who try to cross our border. Moreover, there are some Belarusians, although very small numbers, who fight on the side of the rebels and on the side of Ukrainian forces. Where do they return to? To Belarus. We keep an eye on them but it costs money. Do we need this? No, we do not,” the President said.

Alexander Lukashenko once again emphasized: “We are ready to work to help mitigate this situation. We need peace there. We made our proposals to the western partners: they asked us for them. Vladimir Putin knows about our proposals. So far there has been no feedback. It means that they do not want the situation to develop in this vein. Especially the West. We made these proposals back then, at the start of the conflict. Still no feedback. This means they do not want peace in Ukraine. We are ready to get involved and to solve the problem in Ukraine, even if it may seem that it is ‘not our problem’ at first. But it will affect us one way or the other. I emphasize again: this is not Syria, which is a few thousand kilometers away from us. This is in our neighborhood,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The President noted that the Belarusians, Russians, Ukrainians are sister nations. “Do we need to fight today? Can you imagine how much money they have spent to turn our peoples against each other, how hard they wanted this! Of course, nobody wants Russia to increase its influence. They want to get Russia tied to conflicts, particularly in Ukraine. No administration in the United States and the European Union will deviate from this policy. They do not need a strong Russia or Belarus. Or Ukraine. So they use this. But we need to have a head on our shoulders and make some steps. I think we can come up with something to start a reverse process there,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state stressed: “We are not trying to insert ourselves as peacemakers or mediators. I cannot stand this. I do not stand mediation. But we are ready to get involved where needed in a humanly, camaraderie, brotherly way.”

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