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Lukashenko: Belarus should not be made to choose between East and West

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus should not be made to choose between the East and the West, President Alexander Lukashenko said when speaking in the inauguration ceremony, BelTA has learned.

"On hearing or seeing that we start negotiating with representatives of the United States of America or the European Union they start screaming all the way up to Vladivostok that Lukashenko is changing the policy! As soon as they see warm trends in our relations with our brotherly Russia, Ukraine and other post-Soviet republics, we start hearing complaints in the West,” the President said.

"Do not make us choose! Let us live calm on this piece of land! We will ensure your interests, both of the East and the West, in Belarus. We will do everything you want. Just do not prompt us to make a choice with regard to Russia or the West,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

"We are not changing our policy! We want to live on our land. We want to ensure the vital interests of Belarusians here, on this piece of land. Please note we have no other claims. We have no vital interests even in the neighboring states. We want a calm and peaceful life,” the Belarusian President said.

Alexander Lukashenko noted that when the Belarusian side gets hints from the West to keep away from Russia, we always honestly and sincerely say that we cannot be away from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan because "we have the same roots". “How can you break this? Indeed, we have our own point of view, our own interests, and we have shown it many times,” the Belarusian leader said.

“No one should push us against the West in the East either. We will continue normalizing our relations with the West because they are our neighbors, too. We have economic interests there. We export 42% of our products to Russia today. Our exports to the European Union are over 50%. How can we say no to that? Why are all these attempts to push us off this road, to make us abandon the multipronged foreign policy? Here is the only, 800km wide, corridor left today where the East and the West may freely move and cooperate,” the President said.

“This is my answer to all those who try to make us enemies with Russia and the West,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

“The God decided so for us. We are in this place, in the center of Europe, at the crossing of all roads. We should remain to be wise politicians in order to survive these turbulent times,” he said.

“We will pursue a peaceful foreign policy. We will proceed from our interests and the interests of our neighbors,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed.