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Opinions & Interviews

21 Nov 2016

Lukashenko: Belarus will not choose between East and West

Lukashenko: Belarus will not choose between East and West

MINSK, 21 November (BelTA) – Belarus will not be choosing between the East and the West and should not be made to choose, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with the delegation of the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union on 21 November, BelTA has learned.

“The foreign policy of our country is consistent and predictable. We maintain mutually beneficial cooperation with many countries. The strategic relations with Russia and China, the sustainable cooperation with the EU and the USA, the development of bilateral ties with the countries of the Middle East, Latin America, Central Asia, and Africa are equally important for us,” the President said. “Therefore, we will not choose and should not be made to choose between the East and the West.”

According to the head of state, strong economy is the foundation of the sustainable development of any state. “Belarus is building it relying on local resources and mutually beneficial cooperation with other states,” Alexander Lukashenko noted. “Over the years of independence, we managed to overcome a strong economic recession following the collapse of the Soviet Union and to launch comprehensive modernization of the economy. Thanks to the evolutionary path of development (instead of the shock therapy in neighboring countries), we preserved traditional industries such as mechanical engineering, machine-tool building, agriculture, electronics, etc.”

Lukashenko: Belarus will not choose between East and WestThe country has developed brand new industries such as nuclear energy, space exploration, and biotechnology.

Belarus ranks 37th out of 190 states in the recent Doing Business report. Belarus is one the countries with a high human development index.

“Unfortunately, the Belarusian economy has been affected by the negative external and internal factors recently. Because of the unstable situation in neighboring countries, Belarus’ traditional sales markets have shrunk considerably,” the head of state said.

Lukashenko: Belarus will not choose between East and WestAlexander Lukashenko stated that Belarus is still lagging behind the majority of the EU states in terms of labor productivity, energy and material intensity. “Therefore, we are constantly looking for the new ways to raise the competitiveness of Belarusian goods and services. Belarus is an export-oriented country. In certain positions the country depends on one or several markets. The main objective today is to diversify export in equal proportions across major destinations: the Eurasian Economic Union – the European Union – countries of the distant arc,” the President said.

He emphasized that this largely depends on the establishment of sustainable relations with European countries. “The European Union is the second most important market for the Belarusian export and a crucial source of investments,” the head of state said. “Over the past 20 years, our relations have been gradually developing, to the extent possible, in spite of all difficulties and restrictions. Over the years of Belarus’ independence, the trade turnover has increased dozens of times and made up about $15 billion last year.”

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