New Year Address from Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko
Another year of the 3rd millennium passes into history. The year was complicated, bright and eventful.
For some people 2016 was a sad and sorrowful year because of the loss of a family member or a friend, some people might have failed to achieve their goals. Others had to deal with family or professional issues.
But I am convinced that 2016 was a joyful and happy year for the majority of people. It was a good year because they loved, had fun at weddings starting a new life, smiled hearing the voices of their babies for the first time. Those who set ambitious goals and overcame many obstacles to fulfill their dreams felt the joy of victory!
Sovereign and independent Belarus was at the epicenter of the global geopolitical and economic events. Since Belarus is an open country, it has been affected by the economic circumstances of traditional business partners.
Violent conflicts break out, terrorist attacks are committed, interethnic and interreligious wars escalate in various corners of the planet.
It was not easy to keep Belarus as an island of stability. But we did our best to ensure peace and security of the nation!
Our neighbors, friends, brotherly nations should know that Belarus will never be the source of aggression and threats.
At the same time, we, military people, know very well that it is needed to keep powder dry. The defense of the Fatherland is our sacred duty!
Step by step, Belarus is strengthening its authority in the international community. The country took the spotlight as the platform of peacemaking initiatives. Belarus' friendliness, hospitality, and openness to cooperation attract many nations.
Belarus pursues balanced international and domestic policy. We have a strong resolution to promote the unity of the nation, prevent extremism and the incitement of ethnic and religious hatred. The political campaigns of the outgoing year demonstrated the civil maturity and culture of our people.
Together, we determined the priorities and major guidelines of the country's development. I am convinced that all of them will be fulfilled in the coming years.
We can say so because over the years of sovereignty the Belarusian state has gained the priceless experience of overcoming difficulties and solving problems, has learned to find adequate responses to emerging challenges and threats.
We set up new enterprises, build roads, power plants, important social facilities and dwelling houses. We make towns and villages more beautiful. Every year Belarus is doing a lot to enhance its image as a modern European state.
Looking into the future, we have many hopes for 2017. It should be a momentous year which will give a strong impetus to the development of the country.
We will prioritize the creation of new enterprises and new jobs, promote business.
Belarusian science will play a crucial role. The innovative development is our priority. The coming Year of Science should be a beacon of the country's renewal and discoveries in all walks of life. All scientific achievements and projects should be efficiently applied in production.
Thanks to these efforts, we will provide jobs and decent salaries to people. The living standards of Belarusians should be much higher than they are today. It is a difficult task. However, we will do our utmost to significantly raise the incomes of citizens next year.
It is for the first time since gaining independence that Belarus posted a natural population increase in 2016. Our families have more children, and they are the future of Belarus. We must keep this positive trend. Dear women, give birth to children and be sure that we will continue providing families with children with the maternity capital, allowances, and accommodation.
The senior generation has done a lot for our country. And we are grateful for it. But now we should move forward, apply as many progressive and useful things as possible. For this purpose, we must learn, improve ourselves, and keep up with the times.
Our patriotic youth concerned about the future of the Homeland should be more proactive. There are many talented people among you.
I believe in you and hope that you will find a place under the sun in Belarus, will use your talents and skills for the benefit of the country. Twenty-five years have passed since the acquisition of sovereignty, and now you are responsible for the future and prosperity of the Fatherland.
In the last moments of the year, I would like to express sincere gratitude to you, dear compatriots. Thank you for your selfless work in the manufacturing sector, agriculture, education, healthcare, railway and air transportation, the R&D sector, construction and the forestry industry, mining and military service.
Thanks to your personal merits, professionalism and loyalty, we can sit at the festive table, sing and joke, make wishes and face the future with optimism.
I want to tell you one more thing: remember the warmth of your home, your teachers and friends, your native country wherever you are.
May the coming year bring you luck and wellbeing. I am convinced that it will be so because I believe in the wisdom, unity, diligence, and unflagging creative energy of our people.
Happy New Year, dear friends!