Medvedev has no plans to meet with Belarusian leader - Kremlin chief of staff

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has no plans to meet with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, the Kremlin chief of staff said.

"There are no bilateral meetings on our agenda... But I think they may meet in multilateral formats in which Russia and Belarus take part, notably CSTO, Eurasec and CIS," Sergei Naryshkin said at a meeting with Belarusian journalists.

Relations between Moscow and Minsk have been strained over several economic and political disputes, including Russian gas transits, and Lukashenko's failure to honor his promise to recognize the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

After months of backbiting, including a three-part documentary called "The Godfather" slashing Lukashenko's authoritarian policies, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hit out for real last Sunday.

Responding to Minsk's allegations that the Kremlin was interfering in Belarus's presidential election campaign, Medvedev accused Lukashenko in his weekly video blog of "hysterical anti-Russian rhetoric."

Naryshkin said that ties with the present Belarusian leadership may be mended on the condition that Minsk admits that its current anti-Russian rhetoric is harmful.

"The Belarusian leadership should realize that the current election campaign, based on anti-Russian rhetoric, inflicts serious damage to ties between the two states, and to the peoples of the two states," he said.

"I do not rule out that if such an understanding emerges, the relations may take a turn for the better... But this understanding should be in word and deed," Naryshkin added.

He said the December 19 elections in Belarus were the country's "purely internal matter" and Russia had no plans to interfere.

"Recognizing or not recognizing the outcome of the elections will depend not on who is elected but on how the electoral procedure and the election campaign corresponds with legal norms, primarily with Belarusian laws and internationally accepted standards," the official said.

MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti)


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