MINSK, 17 November (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko commented on differences in holding talks with Russia and the West as he spoke to the media after casting his ballot at the parliamentary elections on 17 November, BelTA has learned.
“It is easier for me to negotiate with Russia because we are one nation, we speak one language, we think in the same way,” said the head of state. “I have always been more comfortable with Russians, we are friends. Of course, we are different countries. We probably have different goals and objectives today. Russia is a big country, but we also have enough goals, only that they can be smaller ones.”
Speaking about the Belarusian-Russian relations, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed: “Since we have a lot of issues that should have been resolved long ago, and we haven't solved them, it may seem that our relations with Russia are quite tense. Such tension, however, is typical only of brotherly, friendly countries,” he said.
“As for the United States, they never demand anything from me,” the president said. He recalled that there used to be such a popular thesis - decide, Belarusians, either the West or the East, either you are with us or with them. “I have recently met with high-ranking American politicians and I know their position. They always start with this: we do not ask you, Mr. President, who you are with, us or Russia,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. He stated that they have never raised such issues after the relations between Belarus and the United States approved.
"So if anyone in Russia is worried that the Americans have been dragging us to the West, this is not true. No one will drag Belarus to the West while Lukashenko is President. I know my role, my place. I know how they assess me and us in general. But I cannot let us be a backhouse neither for Europe nor for the East. We are a sovereign and independent country. I will put these issues and conduct the dialogue like this,” the president said.
“For example, at the Vienna forum I answered the main question, ensuring that your investments will be fully protected. The interest is huge, and not only from Austrians, Germans. The forum welcomed business sharks from all over Europe,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “The interests will be protected. We did not have a single incident when we set someone up or someone lost their investment. We will do everything as we agree upon. The only principle matters. If you, Austrians, come to us, work like you do in Austria, and respect our people and our country.”
“The value and freedom of our people should be fully secured,” the president stressed.