Interview with Belarus 1 TV channel

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At the talks held in Sochi on 22 August Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on a new meeting in the near future with the participation of members of the governments of the two states, the Belarusian leader said in an interview with the Belarus 1 TV channel.

“The most important thing is that we have agreed with the Russian president to find an opportunity to meet within the next few days. At present I have a quiet timetable, while Vladimir Putin has a very busy schedule. Now he is going to spend some time in Siberia. We will meet after his visits to the regions of Russia. This was Vladimir Putin’s proposal. We will expand out meeting with representatives of our governments,” said the Belarusian leader.

“We have agreed that the current issues are the matters for the governments to address. So, as I have already said it, we, fortunately, have no new problematic issues and they do not accumulate. These are old matters, on which we need to make decisions. Vladimir Putin suggested doing it in the presence of the governments and the prime ministers. We agreed upon it after discussing international issues,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The president stressed that Belarus and Russia are friendly states. “Perhaps, this is because we share the Soviet past. Moreover, we have common Slavic roots. That is why we have very close relations and can discuss any issue openly,” said the Belarusian leader.

"Journalists make wrong conclusions from this openness. They say our relations are worsening. This is not true. We simply discuss all the matters openly, express our opinions,” added Aleksandr Lukashenko.

In an interview the President also commented on the appointment of Mikhail Babich Ambassador of Russia to Belarus and Russian president’s envoy for trade and economic cooperation with Belarus.

“Mikhail Babich may not be a heavyweight but he certainly carries a lot of weight in politics. He has made a certain career. He is an experienced person, well familiar with many problems. Minsk is the CIS headquarters. So naturally Mikhail Babich will perform additional functions given his experience,” the head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that he previously discussed the Russian ambassador nominee in a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin. “We discussed this matter probably a month and a half ago or two when the Russian president was thinking over the new ambassador nominee in connection with the expiration of Alexander Surikov’s tenure,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“All those speculations that they are sending someone to take Belarus under control, to control Lukashenko are absolute nonsense,” the Belarusian head of state said.

The president also noted that Vladimir Putin’s meeting with the new ambassador Mikhail Babich soon after their meeting in Sochi had nothing to do with the recent talks as the leaders agreed upon the nominee earlier. “We did not discuss the new ambassador to Belarus during the meeting,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“The fact that Vladimir Putin vested Mikhail Babich with new functions is probably because he personally trusts him and because Mikhail Babich is a person who can solve these issues. At least, we hope so. We are ready to work with any representative of the Russian Federation. We know how any Russian ambassador to Belarus will act. If they want Belarus to remain its closest ally, the ambassador should act correspondingly,” the head of state said.