Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Lukashenka notes warmer relations with EU

By Tanya Korovenkova, BelaPAN

Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Tuesday that Minsk and the European Union were resuming their dialogue.

Speaking to a group of Belarusian media leaders, Mr. Lukashenka said that some EU officials had recently visited Minsk for talks. "Visiting Europeans often ask for [the visit] not to be made public," he said. "I talk to them frankly, if they ask to be received by me, I don`t reject anyone`s request, I talk to everyone - from US congressmen to ordinary politicians from Europe, even former [politicians]. They are of course influential in their countries. And we have had very many such contacts, a certain dialogue has started. Even if we don`t sit at one table and discuss problems so far, we will [in the future]. But there is already some dialogue going on, and this is good."
Mr. Lukashenka said that Belarus` stance was communicated to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU politicians through "such intermediaries."

Minsk and the EU are now avoiding mutual attacks, he said. "We have started talking in some way. Lithuania has realized that Belarus means a third of their budget, and so has Latvia," he noted.

Mr. Lukashenka reiterated that Belarus` independence was a "sacred" thing to him, but warned that it "should not be aggressive." "We are not a country that has the strength to treat either the West or the East aggressively," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka stressed that Belarus` relations with the EU would never be to the detriment of Russia, and vice versa.

"As for Russia, I will never let Russia walk on this land and undertake something with its sleeves rolled up too much," he warned.

Mr. Lukashenka described his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin as very friendly and said that Belarus and Russia were brotherly countries.

"Russia has always lent its shoulder to us. Losing Belarus would be great political damage for the Russian leadership, an even bigger disaster than giving the Far East away to the Japanese or Chinese," he said.