Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Russian top official warns Belarus against Eastern Partnership

Belsat.eu, following Tanya Korovenkova, BelaPAN

Belarus close ties with Russia do not prevent the former from building normal relations with other countries, including the European Union, Mikhail Myasnikovich, chairman of the Council of the Republic (upper parliamentary house) said in Minsk on Tuesday, news agency BelaPAN reports.

Belarus efforts to develop relations with the West do not mean that these relations should be to the detriment of Russias interests, Mikhail Myasnikovich said after his meeting with Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of Russias Federation Council.

In her turn, Matviyenko stressed that neither Russia nor Belarus sought self-isolation.

If Belarus and Russia develop their relations with other states they should develop them with consideration for the obligations that they took regarding the building of the Union State and the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Russian top official said.

At the same time, Matviyenko criticized the European Unions Eastern Partnership program, which she described as an attempt to closely tie ex-Soviet states to the Wests economic influence. No one has seen any practical benefits of the Eastern Partnership so far, she said.

The speaker of Russias Federation Council called the sanctions introduced by the EU and Russia against each a temporary obstacle to their closer relations. Both the EU and Russia are interested in cooperation, she stated.