Belarus ready for equitable relations with U.S. - Lukashenko

MINSK. Oct 24 (Interfax) - Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said he is ready to develop relations with the United States as equal partners.

"Belarus is interested in open and constructive dialogue with the United States of America that will heed [the two countries'] interests and will be based on the principles of equality and mutual respect," Lukashenko said on Tuesday, receiving credentials from U.S. Ambassador to Belarus Karen Stuart.

"The differences in views on a number of problems should not stand in the way of steps to bolster joint efforts in areas where our approaches coincide," the president said.

"I very much hope that the activities of the new U.S. ambassador, who knows Belarus very well and has extensive experience, will be aimed at broadening mutually beneficial and respectful relations between our countries," he said.

The U.S. diplomat told journalists that her country would continue supporting democratic processes in Belarus. Stuart said she is in Belarus to represent U.S. President George W. Bush and the American people in the country. The U.S. has been extending the hand of friendship to the Belarussian people for a long time, she said.