Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Lukashenka mentions increased trade with EU among Belarus main 2011 achievements

Alyaksandr Lukashenka mentioned a "significant increase" in Belarus trade with the European Union among the countrys main achievements this year while speaking at a news conference in Minsk on Friday.

The two-way trade went up by 60 percent, with Belarus securing "a trade surplus of $2.5 billion", said Mr. Lukashenka.

The Belarusian leader also expressed a favorable opinion about Belarus trade with Russia, in which official statisticians however say Belarus had an $8.5 billion deficit in the first 10 months of 2011.

"After putting things to rights, we were able to pay big money [for imports] and sell our exports at a higher price", he said. "It was possible because the prices of foodstuffs that we sell abroad increased a bit, while Russia, our main market, started paying us good money for our goods, which resulted in higher foreign currency revenues".

Commenting on this years hardships, Mr. Lukashenka mentioned economic and political problems, "developments" after the December 2010 presidential election and the April 11 subway bombing.

"This was not an easy year, this was a tough year", said Mr. Lukashenka. "It will go down in our history as a year of very serious lessons".

He said that the fatal bombing was the most negative event of the year 2011. "It was an unprecedented incident, which eclipsed all others".

As for the countrys integration with post-Soviet countries, Mr. Lukashenka said that a breakthrough had been made."The Eurasian Economic Community also played a role in integration processes after the establishment of the Customs Union", he said.

Mr. Lukashenka also mentioned the Arab Spring, the consequences of which he said would yet be felt for a long time.

In addition, he said, the Belarusians were hit by global economic recession.

Russias unsuccessful talks with the United States on the deployment of the US anti-ballistic missile system (ABM) in Europe also affected the situation in Belarus, suggested Mr. Lukashenka.