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Lukashenko: Belarus will always be a reliable partner for the EU

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus will always be a reliable partner for the European Union and hopes that this approach in the bilateral relations will be reciprocal, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Gunther Oettinger on 18 February, BelTA has learned.

“I want to assure you that Belarus always pursues a balanced and well-considered policy in relations with its neighbors. We believe that neighbors are given to us by God, we do not choose them. With this in mind, we will always be a reliable partner for the European Union, and you should not be concerned about the Belarusian direction (almost 1,500 kilometers). Of course, we want such feelings to be reciprocal,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The president remarked that the relations between Belarus and the European Union across the board rely on certain principles and are developing in certain directions. “We adopt certain programs and implement certain projects to promote the development of these directions. The financing of such projects by the European Union has increased significantly in recent time. Of course, they are mutually beneficial. Let's move in this direction,” the head of state said.

Gunther Oettinger, in turn, remarked that he had arrived in Minsk the day before and it was a pleasure for him to visit Belarus. “I recall my visit to Belarus five years ago when I took part in a big conference under the aegis of the Eurasian Economic Union. But my first memories of Belarus go back to the 1960s when my mother made me to take piano lessons with a Belarusian teacher for eight years. I would have been happy to play football, but I had had to play the piano,” he said.

On 18 February Gunther Oettinger will also meet with Prime Minister Sergei Rumas, Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Olev Kravchenko. At the meetings the sides plan to discuss the development of the political dialogue, trade and economic cooperation between Belarus and the EU, interaction in finance and customs affairs. “I am glad to have these negations and discuss certain things,” Gunther Oettinger stressed.