Belarus and Russia should talk about strengthening, intensifying relations. On Thursday, 26 November, Alexander Lukashenko met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the press service reports.
Lukashenko, Lavrov and Makei
“Our meetings are always productive, from my point of view, especially for me and Belarus, for our foreign policy, first of all, because there is an opportunity, as you often say, to synchronize watches, and we use it,” he said.
Lukashenko said that Belarus would like to have brotherly relations with Russia. A fragment of the meeting was published by Pul Pervogo Telegram channel.
“Perhaps, we don’t need not talk about some kind of reset, but about the strengthening, intensification of our relations. The thesis is absolutely explicit. I want you to understand and know that we are ready for this. There is a lot of talk about how our relations will develop, what they will be. We would like to have not just good-neighbourly relations, we are neighbours, we would like to have very close, fraternal relations with the Russian Federation.
I said nothing new. I’ve always talked about this. It’s just that, while listening to me, many did not always want to highlight and repeat this, especially in Russia. Apparently, it was unprofitable for somebody, but time has shown that we cannot get away from very close and friendly relations,” said Lukashenko.
Lavrov conveyed greetings from Vladimir Putin to Lukashenko and reaffirmed the commitment of the Russian side to the previous agreements.
“First of all, greetings from Vladimir Vladimirovich. He has confirmed everything that you agreed with him before, especially your agreements reached during *your visit to Sochi. As you said, our interest in strengthening relations fully coincides. You can call it differently, but we have the same goal: to move towards the mutual benefit of our peoples, our countries and our Union State.
You have come up with a number of initiatives, which, I believe, are very important for the Belarusian society. As President Putin has repeatedly stressed: we are interested in seeing these initiatives take place. If we can do anything to support them, we are always open for this,” said Lavrov.
Lukashenko touched upon the issue of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. He noted that there are many challenges in the world nowadays.
“You should know that we are always ready to walk the path, if Russia so wishes, alongside Russia, overcoming these problems, starting from a pandemic to all sorts of claims, primarily coming from the United States of America, for sole dominance in the world. We have never welcomed this and will not welcome it.”
*Recall that Lukashenko and Putin met in Sochi on 14 September. At the meeting, the Russian president welcomed Lukashenko’s initiative to conduct constitutional reform in the country, promised Belarus a loan of $ 1.5 billion, and discussed energy supplies issues.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov is on a working visit to Belarus. He arrived in Minsk to take part in a joint meeting of the collegium of the Russian and Belarusian Foreign Ministries. He also met with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei.
As reported by the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, the Makei and Lavrov discussed a number of topical issues of Belarusian-Russian cooperation. Below are just some of the excerpts.
On interference in the internal affairs of Belarus:
“Our partners, unfortunately, do not even want to listen to the official arguments of the Belarusian authorities, we see the same things are happening in relation to Russia. […] We have always opposed when, under the pretext of protecting human rights, Western states try to openly interfere in the internal affairs of the states.”
On Ukraine’s joining sanctions against Belarus:
“Initially, we also prepared a corresponding sanctions list against a number of Ukrainian officials. We will continue to monitor developments. We will respond to each and every action of Ukraine directed against the Belarusian state.”
On interaction with the Council of Europe:
“We are interested in cooperating with this organization. But if it turns out that the Council of Europe will make any decisions on cooperation programs with our country without agreement with Belarus, then we will simply stop any interaction with this organization.”
On the use of “revolutionary methods” in Belarus:
“I am all for change too, but it should happen in an evolutionary way, calmly, within the framework of improving legislation, through an internal dialogue, improving the Constitution, but never through a revolution that won’t do any good either to the country or the people.”
On lifting restrictions on the Belarusian-Russian border:
“We have already managed to agree on certain relaxations for a number of categories of citizens and on the intensification of communication between countries. I hope that the coordinated work for the further normalization of all types of transport communications with unconditional compliance with preventive measures will yield results in the near future.”
On Russia’s support:
“We note with satisfaction the political and informational support provided by Russia in the post-election period, while there were aggressive external pressure on Belarus and attempts to destabilize the situation in our country.”
On synchronizing sanctions lists:
“In accordance with the principle of reciprocity, we have expanded our response stop-list by including representatives of the EU countries that are actively involved in the sanctions rush. We commend the speed of our Belarusian colleagues in taking their response measures. As you know, since 2015 we have common stop-lists, so appropriate coordination within the Union State has been fine-tuned.”
On pressure from the West:
“Pressure is being exerted on Russia and Belarus to make us change our course of action and limit the development of our countries. The Western media and officials almost give us ultimatums. There is an abundance of facts of interference in internal affairs. A method of organizing mass riots is used, the opposition receives financial and other support.”
On colour revolutions:
“They continue to use dirty methods of the so-called color revolutions, including manipulation of public opinion, creation and support of openly anti-government forces, and promotion of their radicalization. And we see how those methods are being used with regard to the Republic of Belarus.”
On the situation in Belarus:
“We are not indifferent. Belarus is our ally and strategic partner. Belarusians are our brotherly people. And we, of course, have a stake in the preservation of peace and stability in the Republic of Belarus. In our opinion, this will be facilitated by the constitutional reform initiated by the country’s leadership as an important stage in improving transformation in the political, economic and legal systems.”
On contacts with the Belarusian opposition:
“I want to briefly answer your question: this is an outright lie.”