Updated at 20:54,07-12-2016

National Assembly adopts statement on relations with Russia

The National Assembly of Belarus on October 7 adopted a statement calling on the Russian parliament to do everything possible for the relations between the two countries not to get out of a "constructive channel."

The statement was adopted unanimously at an "emergency" meeting of both parliamentary houses in response to a statement issued the previous day by the State Duma (lower house of the Russian federal parliament).

"We have no right to allow the slightest chance of losing all that has been achieved in the construction of our common home through the efforts of both peoples," the National Assembly said in its statement.

The Assembly expressed concern about "certain trends that have lately manifested themselves in the relationship between Belarus and Russia."

"We highly appreciate our ally relations and have always considered and consider our peoples to be brotherly," the statement said. "The close trade, economic, financial, cultural and military cooperation that has been established between Belarus and Russia contributes to a rise in the living standards of our peoples and the ensuring of economic stability in both countries."

"We are convinced of the need and good prospects for the formation of the Union State," the Belarusian lawmakers stressed, noting that they could not approve the "defamation campaign that Russia’s central media outlets have launched against the head of the Belarusian state."

This campaign "causes damage to the development of friendly relations between the two countries and peoples," the statement said.

The initial version of the statement was two times larger in size and contained harsh words against the Russian leadership.

The State Duma said in its statement that the Belarusian leadership's public criticism of Moscow caused "bewilderment and utter rejection" in Russia and ran counter to the "spirit of the centuries-long cultural and economic ties" between the two countries.

The State Duma condemned Minsk's "anti-Russian rhetoric" and backed President Dmitry Medvedev's stance on the matter.

"Russia has been a firm advocate of the establishment of the Union State," the statement said. "Short-term political interests, which have prevailed during Belarus' election campaign, should not undermine the ally strategic relations between our countries and drive a wedge into the close union of the two brotherly nations."