Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Thursday that Ukraine could become an additional route for energy deliveries to Belarus now that "the general energy situation is getting worse and traditional transit routes are being reshaped."
"Perhaps, the prospects are not quite clear as of now, but it will be a mistake not to take them into consideration at all," Mr. Lukashenka said at his meeting with the heads of Belarusian diplomatic missions abroad.
Cooperation between Belarus and Ukraine is very promising, he said. "Look at the impressive amount of pre-crisis trade with Ukraine, which was the second largest after our trade with Russia and ahead of our trade with Germany and Poland." Access to the Black Sea and the possibility of using Ukraine as a transit route for goods is also of importance to Belarus, the Belarusian leader stressed.
Mr. Lukashenka also commented on the plans of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia to form a customs union, noting that the union could "significantly increase the role of the post-Soviet region in the globalization process.""It is extremely important for the Customs Union to become an efficient and full-fledged organization without artificial restrictions on the free movement of goods within its internal territory," he said.
Mr. Lukashenka said that Belarus also should develop "full-fledged and very close partnership" with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, countries that possess "important strategic energy resources."