Updated at 15:40,13-12-2017

Lukashenka says he will never allow West to "run the show" in Belarus

Iryna LEWSHYNA, Naviny.by

Alyaksandr Lukashenka warned on Monday that he would never allow the West to "run the show" in Belarus.

Speaking in an interview with Serbia's daily newspaper Politika and the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Lukashenka said, "Why should I take offense at the West? I understand what they want from me and what they want from Belarus. I will never agree to that."

Mr. Lukashenka answered "a wide range of questions dealing with the reasons for Belarus' steady social and economic development against the background of crisis phenomena in the world economy, Belarus' relations with the EU and NATO, the current state and prospects of Belarusian-Serbian relations," said the presidential press office.

Mr. Lukashenka stressed that it was internal stability that mattered most for him. "It's far more important to me… that a young mother could take her kid in a baby carriage outside at night without fearing that she could be stopped and abused by some thugs. That families live normally and have children. To me it's more important than going to the European Union and smiling at each other," he was quoted as saying.

Mr. Lukashenka said that the Eurasian Economic Union, which Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia will launch on January 1, 2015, was an attractive bloc to other countries.

"There has been an enormous interest in the bloc," he said. "I'm not speaking about China, we are already talking to, cooperating with them. Today Vietnam, India, other states have announced [their interest], you see yourselves as a member as well. I'm sure that Ukraine will cooperate with this union."

He described the three-country union as a "new center of power." "Maybe this is an additional contribution to a multi-polar world," he said.

After the interview was over, the Serbian reporters expressed gratitude to Mr. Lukashenka for sending relief supplies to Serbian areas hit by recent devastating floods.

The interview may be a sign of Mr. Lukashenka's plans to visit Serbia soon.