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Opinions & Interviews

14 Mar 2017

Belarus rejects false choice between East and West

Belarus rejects false choice between East and West

MINSK, 14 March (BelTA) – Belarus would like to avoid the false choice between the West or the East, Belarus’ Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Kravchenko said when speaking during the debate “25 years of public and diplomatic relations between Belarus and Germany: retrospective and future” with the participation of Minister of State for Europe at Germany’s Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth, BelTA has learned.

Oleg Kravchenko drew attention to the tensions in the European region, of which Belarus is keenly aware due to its unique geopolitical situation. He noted that Belarus believes that it will be not good for the partnership if Belarus is again forced to face the dilemma, which, in his view, should have been left in the past. This is the dilemma of the false choice: either with the West or the East, with Russia or with Europe. “We would like to avoid it by every means possible,” Oleg Kravchenko said.

“Our relations with Europe must be built on shared values, not only on economic pragmatism. I believe we have shared the values since ancient times, despite some contradictions and differences,” Oleg Kravchenko said.

Speaking of bilateral relations between Belarus and Germany, he said that there are great prospects and that the parties are interested in intensifying the interaction. “Germany is the key partner for us in the European region. This is one of the leading countries in the world. We would like to develop political dialogue and cooperation within the framework of international organizations given Germany’s voice and also to bolster economic ties,” Oleg Kravchenko said. He noted the importance of the German market, production cooperation with manufacturers in that country, the importance of attracting German technology and investment as well as credit resources. “Our interest is sincere, well-grounded and pragmatic,” he said.

For his part, Michael Roth noted that the troubled times bring many challenges and threats. Walls are often erected between countries; some states get subjected to isolation. “We should overcome all these,” he said.

The visit of Minister of State for Europe at Germany’s Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth to Belarus is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations. For the last 25 years the relations between Belarus and the Federal Republic of Germany have expanded considerably in many areas. This applies to areas of culture, education, science, economy, and also the cooperation with civil society, particularly in mitigating the Chernobyl impact in Belarus. After most European Union sanctions were lifted in February 2016 the political dialogue between the two countries has significantly intensified.

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