Updated at 23:19,25-10-2016

Lukashenko: EU must not force Belarus to choose between Russia and West

Kyiv Post
19-10-2009, 17:48

The European Union should not push Belarus in the selection of foreign political priorities, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said while receiving credentials from foreign ambassadors in Minsk on Monday.

"You must not force us to choose between the EU, the East, Russia and so on," he said.

"Since the very first day we defined our foreign policy, we said that policy would be multi-vector," Lukashenko said.

"We are a sovereign and independent state, and that is a fact. The president is the first person to guard this independence and sovereignty," hе said.

In the opinion of Europe, Belarus "has no other chance to go West," he said. "Yet there is no social, economic or political catastrophe here. Times are hard, but we will survive," he said.

Lukashenko denied the efficiency of external pressure on any country and said Europeans "must understand that we cannot make concessions and accept terms that contradict the interests of the people, neighbors and Europe at large."

"If European states wish Belarus to have another leader, not Lukashenko, they will have to be patient and wait - I won’t live forever. Yet as long as Lukashenko is the president elected by the nation, you will have to be patient and to continue the dialog," he said.

The president said he would not do anything to please Europeans or some other states. "We must do what meets the strategic interests of Belarus and Europe," he said.

"We [Belarus] not only have the right to choose, but also have a choice," he emphasized. "The decade of EU sanctions had no effect."

"That policy must stop. It is necessary to understand that Europe can’t do without Belarus and Ukraine. In that case you will be the European Union, but not a united Europe," he said.