Lukashenko wants to discuss security issues with Russia

BREST. April 4 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that the issues concerning the security of the Union of Russia and Belarus need to be discussed with Russia's leaders in light of the possible deployment of elements of the U.S. national missile defense (NMD) system in Europe.

"I can't say that it [NMD deployment] represents a major, direct threat for Belarus, but it is still a threat to our interests. The deployment of this system is not aimed against Belarus, but against Russia's interests," Lukashenko told journalists in Brest on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, "However we may argue over gas and oil, and however we may fight, we and the Russians are one nation. We should not be playing with issues concerning security and defense potential," he said.

Lukashenko said that the Union State has an agreement on a joint group of forces of the two countries. "Our army is responsible for the Union's safety in the Western direction. No one has released us from this responsibility, and we will not withdraw from these agreements unilaterally, as Russia did on oil and gas," Lukashenko said.