Posted on 18.04.2013 in Belarus, EU and the Eastern Partnership, News

Belarus hopes for rapprochement with Europe during Lithuania’s EU presidency, Lukashenka says

Belarus and Lithuania share a common history, culture, values and traditions and have “nothing to divide,” the Belarusian leader said, according to the government’s news agency BelTA. 

“The two countries have many common interests in the areas of security, trade and industrial cooperation,” he said. “We should use and increase the existing transport and logistics potential. We’re ready to make our relations a model of genuine good neighborliness.”
“If Lithuania wants to cooperate with us—and it does—and if Lithuania gets rid of some outside pressures, we’ll build relations that our nations want, and not only [our] nations but also our and your political elites,” Mr. Lukashenka said. “Rest assured that we’re ready for this.”

Mr. Lukashenka said that he “understands” the Lithuanian government. “I understand and see everything,” he said. “But even so, it’s time to cast off the burden and the shackles of outside influence little by little.”

He recalled that Lithuania was the first Soviet republic to declare its independence in the early 1990s. Lithuania was bold enough to act first in accordance with its interests and face the consequences, he said.

Addressing other foreign diplomats who were to present their credentials to him, Mr. Lukashenka dismissed allegations that Belarus is a dictatorship. “Don’t believe that we’re a rogue state, as some write, that this country doesn’t deserve attention, that it’s an undemocratic country, and that it’s actually a dictatorship,” he said. “I think that as ambassadors, you’ll see the situation in Belarus for yourself very well.”

Evaldas Ignatavicius, a 46-year-old former Lithuanian deputy foreign minister, took over as ambassador to Belarus on April 8. While meeting with him six days earlier, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite noted that Lithuania wanted its relations with neighboring countries to be constructive and based on European principles. As the holder of the EU presidency between July and December 2013, Lithuania will be responsible for dealings with Belarus as the fall summit of the EU’s Eastern Partnership program draws near, she said.

Source: BelaPAN