Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Lukashenka: Belarus participation in Eastern Partnership should not be to detriment of cooperation within other alliances

Belarus participation in the European Unions Eastern Partnership program should by no means be to the detriment of cooperation within the framework of other alliances, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Thursday while meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka.

Mr. Syamashka, who headed the Belarusian delegation to the May 7 Eastern Partnership launch summit in Prague, reported to the head of state on the circumstances of the event.

Belarus is a nation with an open economy and therefore should "firmly stand on several footholds," and be good at selling its products both eastwards and westwards, the presidential press office quoted Mr. Lukashenka as saying.

One of the main purposes that Belarus pursues through its participation in the Eastern Partnership is to "normalize" trade relations with the European Union, Mr. Lukashenka said. According to him, the process may go as far as the establishment of a free trade zone.

Mr. Syamashka said that on the initiative of Belarus, "all political nuances" had been removed from the text of the Declaration on the Eastern Partnership. Belarus took an active part in work on the Declaration, the final document of the summit, putting forward specific and substantive proposals with a view to preventing the possibility of interpreting the Eastern Partnership initiative as an attempt to ally against someone, he said.

The Eastern Partnership was ultimately declared open for participation by other countries and Belarus contribution to the final document was given high praise by foreign partners, Mr. Syamashka noted.

Discussions at the summit were held in a "calm and measured manner" and were not "politicized," he said.

Participants confirmed that the Eastern Partnership would primarily be aimed at solving problems concerning infrastructure matters, energy security, peoples free movement, and visa procedures, Mr. Syamashka said, according to the presidential press office.