Meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia Armen Khachatryan
Belarus and Armenia are close peoples, and will remain so, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia, Armenia’s permanent representative at the CIS Armen Khachatryan on the occasion of the completion of his diplomatic mission in Belarus.
The head of state commended the diplomat for a big contribution to the development of bilateral relations. “We appreciate a person who has been doing his best to promote the unity of the Belarusian and Armenian people for seven years. We have always felt your support and have always known that you have a warm regard for Belarus. In this respect, I would like to say to you, as a very close person for our country, that the Armenian people have never been alien people for us,” he said.
The President emphasized that Belarus and Armenia have absolutely identical positions on all issues on the international agenda. “We understand the policy that is pursued by the current leadership of Armenia and was pursued by the previous leadership,” the head of state continued.
The President also remarked: “There are issues of concern for Armenians and Belarusians. For example, Nagorno-Karabakh. I will openly say that it is not our issue, not my issue. We have nothing to do there. There are conflicting parties who must handle this issue. But when the president of Armenia or the people of Armenia, the president of Azerbaijan or the people of Azerbaijan ask me about it, I tell them that I have only one position: people should have a decent life. Then I say I don’t believe that people have a decent life in Nagorno-Karabakh today. Is this a decent life when you feel that you can be wounded or killed every day? Therefore, we have a univocal position: Armenia and Azerbaijan should sit at the negotiations table and solve this problem without any strong or weak mediators. If they want to use someone as a guarantor, they must make this decision together. It is the right time to solve this issue today.”
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, people are the priority. “It is inadmissible to play this card in politics when people are dying and suffering. This is our intransient attitude to all conflict zones in the world, including Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria and so on. People should live well. Do they live well if bombs are falling from both sides and people are killed? What can we say about it? I want you, as a close friend of ours, to be aware of my position. I voice it when I am asked. When I am not asked, I do not interfere. I hate mediators and peacemakers. They have been hovering around Belarus as long as I have been president. These include peacemakers, mediators, those involved with the European Union or somebody else. We will settle our issues with the European Union, other states and so on without any mediators. They even say today that Putin and Lukashenko need mediators. Calm down! I have very good relations with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. These are great relations. We will find time and meet with each other. We will solve problems if there are any. The two of us will solve them without any mediators. We are brotherly nations, we have nothing to quarrel over,” the head of state said. “Once I told him in public that, perhaps, someday, like military people say, we will have to stand back to back and fight together.”
The President also spoke about the extradition of blogger Alexander Lapshin. “Does Armenia have anything to do with it? Armenia has never told me anything about Lapshin. Only one country, Azerbaijan, put him on the wanted list. When he was apprehended here I though why it happened right here. He could have gone anywhere else. Belarus would not have been involved in it. But he was caught. Interpol knew about it. We had to report and we did it as law-abiding people. What did we have to do with him? We had to extradite him to the country which had put him on the wanted list. Moreover, I will say it in public for the first time: no one wanted to take him back. They started to play this card later. He is the citizen of three countries, and neither of them needed him. They just wanted to get rid of this problem. Therefore, there are always subtexts in all issues which will be always used to someone’s advantage.”
The head of state continued: “You should know the main thing: we have been close people and will remain so. Armenia may have a different attitude to Azerbaijan, but Azerbaijan is also a close state and close people for us. We lived in one country some time ago. Why should we quarrel with Azerbaijan or Armenia? Perhaps, we will be useful for Azerbaijan and Armenia someday. Not as mediators. Therefore, I do not want to interfere. This position derives from the wisdom of the Belarusian and Armenians peoples.”
The Ambassador of Armenia, in turn, spoke in positive terms about Belarus and the Belarusian people and said that he was lucky to spend these years in Belarus. In his words, it is very important that there is understanding between the two states.