Belarusian President Pledges Not To Surrender Sovereignty Rejects Preconditions For Closer Dialogue With EU And Denies Intention To Make Elder Son His Successor

Alyaksandr Lukashenka said at an April 12 meeting with top media executives in Minsk that Belarus will not become a province of the Russian Federation nor of any other country, Belapan reported. Lukashenka admitted that even opposition newspapers no longer write that he is "a traitor, surrenders our country's sovereignty and independence." Lukashenka added that "sovereignty and independence are more valuable" than the favorable price of Russian natural gas. Lukashenka affirmed the importance of a union with Russia, but also did not hide his resentment at Russia's decision to "switch to market economy relations." "How can you build good, human, brotherly relations, when they have bled you dry under the guise of the establishment of market relations? How could I respond to this and what relations could I build with Russia?" Lukashenka asked rhetorically. AM

President Lukashenka said on April 12 that Belarus will not tolerate dictation and pressure exerted by the EU, Belapan reported. "The EU sets us a list of conditions that the so-called Belarusian opposition writes for it," Lukashenka said, adding that "this is not a normal basis for dialogue." "If we detained some people," Lukashenka said, commenting on the EU's dissatisfaction with the Belarusian authorities' treatment of demonstrators on March 25, "those were provocateurs who worked for money. There were one and a half thousand slobs and some 400 rebels [participating in the demonstration]." Lukashenka said that the authorities will not let those people "foul our streets." Lukashenka announced that Belarus is ready for the dialogue with the EU, but "if you want to take us by the scruff of the neck like a naughty kitten, then don't bother us." Lukashenka admitted that Belarus's foreign policy is "multivectoral," but the country has not managed to establish the same relations with the West as with Russia and Ukraine. AM

President Lukashenka said on April 12 that he does not intend to appoint his elder son Viktar as his successor, Belapan reported. "I swear on my children's fate that we have never discussed this issue at home," Lukashenka said, adding that he himself will be president of Belarus "in the near, visible future." "Viktar is weaker today and will be weaker tomorrow than the incumbent president," Lukashenka said. "Why should I prepare the presidency for [someone] who is weaker? I will be preparing the smallest one for becoming my successor. Neither the first nor the second one will be president. Maybe the third one will be," he added. Lukashenka is known to have two legitimate sons -- Viktar and Dzmitry -- and so his comment is likely to fuel rumors about his having a third, illegitimate son. AM