Lukashenko 'optimistic' about Russia-Belarus relations

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday expressed optimism over the future of Russian-Belarusian relations.

On Thursday, Russia's Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina said Russia would cancel oil export duties for Belarus from January 1 if Minsk ratifies all agreements to create a unified economic space with Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Lukashenko almost immediately promised that Belarus would ratify the unified economic space documents before January 1, 2011. The decision will save Belarus almost $4 billion in duties.

"We worked hard to reach the agreements we formalized yesterday. Do not worry, even if we fall out [with Russia], we will find time to reach reconciliation," the Belarusian leader said during a press conference following the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Moscow on Friday.

"Some people have been rubbing their hands together in vain gloating behind the presidents of Belarus and Russia. Don't gloat! For many our relations deteriorate just as quickly as they improve," Lukashenko said.

MOSCOW, December 10 (RIA Novosti)


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