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Belarus interested in building good-neighborly relations with EU

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus is interested in building good-neighborly relations on the basis of mutual respect with the European Union, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Ann Linde and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland Pekka Haavisto on 25 November, BelTA has learned.

The head of state praised the fact that the meeting is held right after the parliamentary elections in Belarus.

“Belarus is interested in building good-neighborly relations on the basis of mutual respect not only with the European Union but also with your states – Sweden and Finland. I have been saying this many times over the years. In some ways, your countries are an example of economic management for us. Our countries are very similar. We have similar economies and, what is the main thing, hardworking and strong people,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “We are making progress. Maybe, you are more successful, we are slightly less successful. But I hope that you will tell us where to go, first of all, in the economy.”

The president said that Belarus is interested in the best practices of the European Union in many fields. However, first of all, it is essential to complete the process of developing a legal framework and to sign pending agreements. “It would be nice to do it without preliminary terms. We need to move in this direction. Of course, negotiations and agreements are a long way of compromise,” the head of state said. “If we have already prepared certain agreements and realized that we need to sign them and move in this direction, we should not put it on the back burner.”

“You see what is going on around us. Small and medium-sized states should be closer to each other. They should unite, if it is possible, to stand out in this complicated turbulent world,” the president is convinced.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that all the sides are interested in turning the region into the oasis of peace, accord and prosperity. “This is the main thing. If we succeed, we will be rich and our people will live a normal life,” the head of state said. “This is what we have in mind when we develop our peaceful initiatives and promote our ideas aimed at releasing tension and strengthening good-neighborliness. Obviously, such approaches are close to you. It is not without reason that the so-called de-escalation initiative in the 1970s was called the Helsinki Accords.”

This is the first visit of the Swedish minister of foreign affairs to Belarus. The minister of foreign affairs of Finland represents the country which is currently presiding in the Council of the European Union.