Meeting with delegation of Political and Security Committee of EU Council

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Today we have a unique opportunity to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with the EU, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with a delegation of the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union on 21 November.

“Your visit and our meeting today once again testify to the positive changes in the Belarusian-European relations. Although many issues still remain,” the President said.

With the abolition of the EU’s most restrictive measures against Belarus in February 2016, we now have favorable conditions for our relations. We have a unique chance to make them truly mutually beneficial for the benefit of economic development, for the benefit of the peoples of our countries, the President said.

In their relations Belarus and the European Union are still guided by the legal framework which was laid down more than a quarter of a century ago and which does not take account of the new geopolitical realities. “Let's see how we can move forward on this issue,” the Belarusian leader said.

“The EU may contribute to the strengthening of Belarus’ economic independence through removing restrictions in trade, providing access to the EU market for Belarusian goods, assisting the country in the development of its relations with the IMF, enhancing Belarus’ position in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) credit ratings, and intensifying talks on Belarus’ accession to the WTO,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President talked about the most important points of Belarus’ policy which is based on the principles of multi-pronged cooperation, peace and good-neighborliness.

Belarus is increasingly perceived as an island of stability in the region, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “There is nothing surprising in this. Our country is the only of six member states of the Eastern Partnership initiative where there are no military or frozen conflicts,” the head of state said. “I think it is very interesting, beneficial, and important for the European Union.” He expressed confidence that in the modern conditions the role of Belarus as a stabilizing factor in Europe will acquire more importance.

According to the President, Belarus will not be choosing between the East and the West and should not be made to choose. The country is doing its best to establish mutually beneficial cooperation with various states and regions. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, strong economy is the foundation of sustainable development.

“Therefore, we are constantly looking for the new ways to raise the competitiveness of Belarusian goods and services. Belarus is an export-oriented country. In certain positions the country depends on one or several markets. The main objective today is to diversify export in equal proportions across major destinations: the Eurasian Economic Union – the European Union – countries of the distant arc,” the President said.

“I cannot but mention our preoccupation with the growing antagonism between the European Union and Russia. It is both painful and alarming for us, Belarus, to see that, understanding that neither you nor Russia, let along us, need this amid those huge problems the world is currently facing and which should be addressed together,” the head of state said.

We can launch a peacekeeping “Minsk process” to regulate the relations between the East and the West, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Some time ago the Helsinki process was needed to de-escalate the relations between the West and the East; the OSCE was created as a result. To improve the atmosphere of relations between the states, we can think about the renewal of the Helsinki process and launch the peacekeeping process, possibly, the “Minsk process”,” the Belarusian leader said. Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested considering the possibility to arrange a meeting of key international experts in the Belarusian capital to share opinions on the regulation of relations between the East and the West.

“I am convinced that no one is interested in another cold war. We must start the process of reflecting on the new rules of international relations based on the multi-polar world order and the respect for the interests of each other,” the President stressed.