Lukashenko calls plans to open EC Belarus office act of goodwill

MINSK, April 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Belarusian government's decision to open an office of the European Commission in Minsk is an act of goodwill, the Belarusian president said Thursday.

Alexander Lukashenko said that the EC had earlier proposed opening a representative office in Belarus, which he said would handle work within a certain framework.

"This is an act of goodwill on our part," Lukashenko said. "In turn, we expect the Europeans to take appropriate measures."

The Belarusian leader also described as unfriendly Poland's decision to begin television broadcasting to Belarus. "This is an absolutely stupid and unfriendly move," Lukashenko said.

Alexander Lukashenko, whose re-election the United States and Europe refused to recognize last year citing fraud, has been accused by the West of stifling democracy and criticized for a poor human rights record. Western nations have even introduced a travel ban on Lukashenko and other Belarusian officials.

Late last year the EU said its relations with Belarus would continue to depend on progress towards democratization and reform in the country.