Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko hopes for the further development of Belarus-Serbia relations. He made the statement at the meeting with Serbia President Tomislav Nikolic on 18 May.
Before the meeting Alexander Lukashenko presented the Order of Friendship of Peoples to Tomislav Nikolic in recognition of his personal contribution to the enhancement of peace, friendly relations and cooperation between Belarus and Serbia.
The Belarusian head of state remarked that regardless of the developments and the situation in Serbia and in Belarus, the people always wanted to be closer to each other. With Tomislav Nikolic coming to power, the Belarusian-Serbian relations have changed dramatically. “I met with Serbian president-elect Aleksandar Vucic in Beijing. I noticed that the foundation that we had laid to restore the friendly relations between the Orthodox nations of Belarus and Serbia is strengthening. I am saying it because I see that the president-elect is also committed to this policy of our friendship,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
He said that the trade between Belarus and Serbia has increased several times in recent years. “We have no closed topics. You should know that we have always admired and respected Serbian people, and we will be committed to this policy in the future,” the Belarusian president assured.
Alexander Lukashenko also emphasized that he appreciates the position of Tomislav Nikolic in relation to Belarus. “This position is as follows: before the election as president Tomislav Nikolic came to Belarus. He openly, honestly, and sincerely supported our country, took a resolute position in favor of the protection of the interests of the Belarusian people,” the Belarusian president said. “This is the main thing. Because we must cooperate with presidents. It does not matter if we like each other or not, we must take the existing circumstances into account. As a person, before being elected, Tomislav Nikolic had a special attitude to our country.”
“Therefore, he absolutely deserved the award. There are no conventionalities here. It is not connected with the post of the president, although it also matters. When you were elected, we did what we had to do long ago together with previous leaders of Serbia,” the Belarusian president said.
Alexander Lukashenko asked Tomislav Nikolic not to stand aside from the relations of Belarus and Serbia, to keep them in sight, come to Belarus more often and give recommendations. “I think that Tomislav will be a great goodwill ambassador for the Serbian and Belarusian peoples and will help strengthen our friendship. I strongly hope for that,” the Belarusian head of state concluded.
Tomislav Nikolic, in turn, may continue supervising the Belarusian-Serbian cooperation after his presidential term expires. “I have known Aleksandar Vucic (Serbia president-elect since 2 April 2017) for 25 years. He is committed to the same policy. Therefore, nothing will change in our relations,” he said. “We have advanced our relations to such a high level that they will never worsen”.
The Serbian president thanked for the Order of Friendship of Peoples and emphasized a special attitude of the Belarusian leader to his country. “You visited Serbia during the NATO bombings. I was in opposition back then, but I did not forget and will never forget it. Because this gesture of yours is in fact, the gesture of the Belarusian nation which, just like the Serbian nation, sustained the biggest losses in World War Two,” he said.