Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Lukashenka: Belarus expects "decent, frank and honest dialogue" from Europe


Belarus is ready to maintain a dialogue with the European Union on all issues, but it expects a "decent, frank and honest dialogue" in response, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said during his working tour of the Vitsyebsk region on Thursday.

"The agenda has been determined," the Belarusian leader said. "I dont want to enumerate the positive things that have taken shape in our relations with the European Union. Ive already thanked them for the support that was given to us by the International Monetary Fund and certain states. I just want to say something about one problem. I just want, if I may say so, to warn the Europeans that [they are mistaken] if they think it is possible to constantly impose conditions on us and expect that Lukashenka will have no choice, as Russia once thought, because he has bad relations with Russia."

"We have good relations with Russia," Mr. Lukashenka said. "We have excellent relations with Russia. I simply note that we have problems in our relationship. But only he who does nothing has no problems. And since we do something, this means we have unsettled issues. And if any in the West think that since our relations with Russia have deteriorated, pressure should be put on Lukashenka and he will release all criminals from prisons and break all laws tomorrow, they are mistaken."

Belarus is ready to "work with both the Europeans and the Americans on an equal and mutually beneficial basis," Mr. Lukashenka stressed.

He noted that he would reject criticism to the effect that he clings to power. "Any president tends to cling to power, but I hold it legally, in a constitutional way. And if anyone, again in the West, thinks it is possible to take away this power from the current government and give it to the opposition through some schemes and activities, this wont work either."

"We wont die in any case," Mr. Lukashenka said. "Roughly speaking, well go into dug-outs, but well secure our sovereignty and independence."