Alyaksandr Lukashenka used his talks with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in Caracas on Monday to ask for the South American country's support amid "the most difficult period" for Belarus.
"We are experiencing probably the most difficult period," Mr. Lukashenka acknowledged hours after arriving in the Venezuelan capital on his first visit to the country since December 2007.
"Of course, we will ask for your support in this difficult period for us. I have already said in public what the difficulty is. But this is not connected with money, there are more important things. This concerns our sovereignty and independence, there cannot be anything dearer," the Belarusian leader's press office quoted him as saying.
Mr. Lukashenka stressed that Minsk cared much about the situation in Venezuela. "We treat processes taking place in Venezuela just like we treat what happens in our own country," he said.
Mr. Lukashenka noted that the did not want "even the opposition here" to think that the main purpose of his visit was money. "In Venezuela we have earned the most important thing - your people's trust," he was quoted as saying.
On Tuesday Mr. Lukashenka was expected to deliver a speech at Venezuela's parliament and travel with Mr. Chavez to the Aragua state to inspect the construction of homes built by Belarusian companies.