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Opinions & Interviews

23 Mar 2014

Lukashenko urges not to politicize IIHF World Championship

Lukashenko urges not to politicize IIHF World Championship

MINSK, 23 March (BelTA) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko urged not to politicize the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and not to use it to blackmail Belarus.

Asked whether Belarus is going to take additional security measures in connection with the events in Ukraine during the 2014 IIHF World Championship the President said that it would be "overreaching". Alexander Lukashenko assured that nothing extraordinary will happen when the country will host 10,000-20,000 foreign visitors. "Nothing will affect the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. We will ensure the security and safety of our guests at the highest level. Nothing extraordinary will happen,” Lukashenko underlined. “We are pragmatists and we are aware that among them will be some provocateurs, especially among journalists, or maybe in disguise of journalists,” he said.

The President urged everyone against "fanning tensions” and blackmailing Belarus with the world championship. "There is no need to exaggerate the role of the world championship, as some westerners do. I am disgusted even reading: ‘Lukashenko is very interested in the future presidential elections and even more so in the world championship.’ Yes, they are important. But I suggest they stop using the world championship as a blackmail tool,” the President said.

“They will not succeed in their attempts to overly politicize the world championship. We will not allow this. The West should understand this,” said Alexander Lukashenko, adding that prior to important dates the West made repeated attempts to politically influence the head of state, and made promises to step up cooperation. But these promises were never fulfilled. "I have been there. I know it. This is the third or fifth wave in my presidential life. Today the West can do nothing. Whatever they promise, they never fulfill. This is their politics,” added the head of state.

Alexander Lukashenko expressed his confidence that the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be a real treat not only for Belarusians but for the entire international sporting community. "I guarantee this. Those who will come to Belarus will leave the country with good impressions and good wishes,” said the head of state.

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