Belarusian President Tells Europe To Stop Interfering

MINSK, April 12, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says Minsk is ready to deepen ties with European countries provided they drop their "double-standards policy," RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported.

Lukashenka made the remarks today at a news conference in Minsk.

"That what we tell Europe: if you want [to have relations] without double standards, that's fine, we're ready for that," he said. "If you are not interested and simply want to grab us by the collar like an ugly duckling or a kitten to lecture us, than thank you, we've lived here long enough to know where to go and how to develop. Please, do not meddle and do not get in our way."

Lukashenka said Western media wrongly accused Belarusian authorities of repressing the opposition.

He also said Minsk would take part in counte-measures if the United States goes ahead with its plan to deploy elements of a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.