Updated at 15:34,14-12-2017

Lukashenka thanks Vatican for helping improve relations with EU

By Syarhey Karalevich, BelaPAN

Alyaksandr Lukashenka told Apostolic Nuncio Claudio Gugerotti on Tuesday that Belarus was grateful to the Vatican for helping it improve its relations with the European Union.

"I simply must thank [you] for supporting our efforts to improve relations with the EU," the Belarusian leader said, according to the government’s news agency BelTA. "Whether or not they yield a result, I know that you want it very much."

Mr. Lukashenka praised the Catholic Church’s "policy" in Belarus, noting that it actively works with people. He told Msgr. Gugerotti that no other ambassador of the Vatican had showed so much understanding. "We know that many Vatican leaders share your stance on Belarus, and that some of them want to visit it," he said. "Tell them that we would always be very pleased to receive them."

Msgr. Gugerotti told the head of state that preparations were under way for Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran to visit Belarus in July. Belarus deserves respect in every regard, and the forthcoming visit is an indication of how much the Vatican values its relations with the country, he said.