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Opinions & Interviews

24 Nov 2017

Lukashenko: Visit of Belarus’ foreign minister to Brussles planned well in advance of EaP summit

BUDA-KOSHELEVO, 24 November (BelTA) – The decision to send Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei to Brussels was taken long before the EaP summit, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko told the media on 24 November, commenting on the degree of Belarus’ representation at the summit and claims that Russia is somehow connected to it, BelTA informs.

“There is no conspiracy here. There are no Russian, American, Ukrainian traces either,” the head of state clarified. “We received a personal invitation to attend the summit. It was addressed to the president, just like in the previous years. However, it is the minister of foreign affairs who has always visited these summits. Probably, some people did not really want to see me in the European Union, but this is ancient history already. The point is that all of my international visits and working trips are planned a year in advance to fit together with domestic events,” the president clarified.

“When we were arranging the trip to Buda-Koshelevo, we knew that the EaP summit would take place this day in late November. We have not received any invitations by that moment, so we planned the visit of the minister of foreign affairs six months before the summit or even earlier. Closer to the summit date, the EU suddenly wanted to see the Belarus president in Brussels. It is good that they finally understood: there cannot be a Europe without Belarus. By the way, this is what the German foreign minister said: you are the center of Europe, what is Europe without Belarus?” Alexander Lukashenko recalled.

According to him, the current visit to Buda-Koshelevo District of Gomel Oblast was planned beforehand but was postponed three times.

“This is why there is no conspiracy and no secrets. Everything happened just as we planned,” Alexander Lukashenko underlined. He stressed that some recent information on the internet is not true. In his words, there were no reasons to send to Brussels someone else rather than the minister. “This is his job, and he can handle it,” the head of state added.

Alexander Lukashenko also shared his opinion on prospects for Belarus-EU relations. He once again cited the German foreign minister who said in public that he wants to see Belarus as a connecting link between East and West. “This is what we have always stated: we will have proper relations with Europe because we are the heart of Europe ourselves. Our role and our future are to be a link, if Europe wants it. And we see that it does want it. We are at your service. We have our own interests, our people. Our interests do not contradict the European ones. Our people are not a burden for Europeans. They have never caused any problems for anyone. Belarus will never be a source of troubles for Europe,” the president reassured.

“If you want to see us as a real bridge between East and West, you have to respect us and our interests,” Alexander Lukashenko underlined. The role of Belarus as a bridge between East and West, he said, is evident through the example of well-organized rail freight traffic between China and Europe, which crosses the Belarusian territory.

“I have quietly gone through the period when we had many problems with Europe. But I want my nation and its interests to be respected. Europe has understood this,” Alexander Lukashenko highlighted.

According to the president, Belarus will develop the cooperation with Europe. “They have cutting-edge technologies that we need. We are interested in them, we get them. We have an interest in the European market. Given the demand for Belarusian goods (mechanical engineering products, meat, milk), the export to Europe can bring a lot of profit,” the head of state remarked.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that such products should bring mutual benefit. He also touched upon investment cooperation, including in the Belarus-China industrial park Great Stone.

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