Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Belarus should balance between EU and Customs Union, foreign minister says

By Artsyom Shraybman, BelaPAN;

Belarus should continue to balance between the European Union and the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey said Friday while delivering a lecture at Belarusian State University's International Relations Department.

Following the November 28-29 Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Belarus should not have a bias in favor of either the EU or the Customs Union, but continue to balance between the two blocs, Mr. Makey said, economist Anton Boltachka, who attended the lecture, told BelaPAN.

Mr. Makey also noted that Russia could be more forbearing with its less powerful partners at times.

He revealed that when Belarus was considering whether to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a letter was sent to Russia in which it mentioned all political and economic losses that Belarus would suffer if it recognized the two states as independent. "We said: if you want us to recognize their independence, Russia should compensate us for all the losses," Mr. Boltachka quoted the foreign minister as saying.

According to Mr. Makey, Russia replied that Belarus’ commitments under various Russian-Belarusian agreements obliged Belarus to recognize the independence of the two territories.