Meeting with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov on 19 January.

“One more year is over. We are well informed about the results of this year for Russia. We have approximately the same results. It is very good that we have reached a balance in our trade and economic relations with the Russian Federation. We even have a slight trade surplus. This suggests that the attempts to strangle us, Russia and Belarus, have actually failed. We will definitely stand our ground,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that over the difficult year 2022, the parties mapped out the way to go in order to preserve their sovereignty at all levels. “We are making good progress in import substitution. President Putin and I start almost all meetings with this matter. The economy is at the heart of everything. If our economy is doing fine, we will be able to resolve all other issues,” the head of state is sure.

Commenting on the relations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the President emphasized that he had always called them exemplary. “If all our ministries cooperated in the same way as the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, we would not have any problems at all. And there would be no problematic issues altogether. I have always said this. Not only today,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He noted that there are issues that need to be discussed at the meeting with Sergey Lavrov, and they go beyond the purview of the collegiums of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Belarus and Russia. “There are questions that we must discuss with you. You know my attitude towards you. I never hide anything from you. This is very important. Well, we also need to consult on some matters. Therefore, I suggest focusing on some key issues, and then we will have a one-on-one meeting to discuss other matters. This is not because we are hiding something from Sergei [Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Sergei Aleinik]. Absolutely not. But there are questions that are beyond the scope of our today’s official events,” said the head of state.

“We are doing everything I have promised, everything Russia needs in this difficult period [the special operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine]. I think [Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs] Sergei Aleinik will tell you everything in detail,” the Belarusian President said.

“I listened to your yesterday's press conference. I heard all your statements. I totally support all of them. In any contacts that we have with the West, others, we say that Russia has never been against peace. Let us negotiate. We are ready to take part in talks. You should have no doubt about that. If something is needed on our part and we can do it (you know very well what we can do), say it straight, we will work together, side-by-side,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the West is trying to use Ukraine against Belarus. “Today, security for us, not only for Russia, is more important than before. You know the intentions of our western neighbors. Not only those of Ukraine. They are trying to use Ukraine against Belarus. But what amazes and pleasantly surprises me is that Ukraine has managed to resist so far. It has not yet engaged in provocations against Belarus. Although it is actively encouraged by our western neighbors. You know who these neighbors are,” the President said.

“We have to withstand this period. The past year 2022 has shown that we can do it. We are on the same page here. In short, we have a lot to talk about, discuss issues,” the head of state said.

Sergey Lavrov is convinced that the Minsk meeting of the collegiums of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Belarus and Russia is important and well-timed.

“Thank you very much for having me here. First of all, best regards from Vladimir Vladimirovich. Although you meet with him ... We have calculated that last year you met 10 times in person in addition to phone calls. Therefore, we, the foreign ministers, cannot keep up with you. But that is the way it should be,” Sergey Lavrov stressed.

In this regard, Aleksandr Lukashenko responded: “We will meet even more often this year.”

The Russian foreign minister emphasized: “The meeting of the two collegiums is more timely than ever. We will discuss the situation that developed because of the West’s attempts to establish a total domination. This policy is spearheaded by the Americans who put others under their sway. And this is manifested in the positions of NATO, of course, of the European Union. The Council of Europe has already taken this path. And many problems are accumulating in the OSCE.”

Sergey Lavrov said that these are some of the key issues on the agenda of the meeting of the collegiums, “along with cooperation in international organizations, where it is important for us to prevent the privatization of secretariats, this is also what the West is trying to do”.

“It is of particular importance to coordinate our actions within the so-called human rights framework: the UN Council on Human Rights, other mechanisms, where the West is clearly trying to politicize the debate, which should be based on the existing international humanitarian law,” the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"As for the special military operation, we are taking all necessary measures together with our Belarusian allies and friends to defend ourselves from possible encroachments, as you said, by our Western neighbors. We see how NATO is now settling in the north of Europe, which was a neutral territory in many respects. Finland, Sweden - all this is very close to our borders," Sergey Lavrov noted.

"I fully concur that the agreements that the two Presidents reach on military-technical, military and defense cooperation are very, very timely from the point of view of readiness for any development of events," Sergey Lavrov summed up.