Lukashenko: Belarus's participation in Eastern Partnership not aimed against Russia


Belarus's participation in the European Union's Eastern Partnership program is not aimed against Russia, said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

"We will not pursue a policy against Russia without looking at our relations with Russia," Lukashenko said during a working trip to the Gomel region on Friday.

Belarus's current disagreements with Russia are temporary and "things will work themselves out," he said.

"Russia is more afraid of losing Belarus than we are afraid of losing Russia. Who else would it be left with otherwise?" he said.

"I didn't cherish much hope regarding Eastern Partnership. Don't think we were eager to get there," he said.

"If you deduct Belarus from the Eastern Partnership composition, you'll have GUAM (a regional cooperation organization set up in 1999 comprising Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova). The West didn't want it to be GUAM that they would have to support, and so they invited us. Why did we have to refuse?" he said.

Belarus expects open and fair dialogue regarding cooperation within Eastern Partnership, he said.

The U.S. and Western Europe regularly bring up the issue of amendment of the Belarusian electoral laws, and Russia might join this as well, Lukashenko said.

"If Eastern Partnership pays us dividends, why won't we participate in it?" he said.

In the current conditions, Belarus will rely only on itself and will develop its own economy and production, he said.

Eastern Partnership is a multinational forum set up by the EU and six former Soviet republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.


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