Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko, on his way back from a trip to the Serbian resort of Kapoanik, stopped to speak to journalists with some advice to Serbs beginning to feel the pinch of the current economic slowdown.
"If you hope that people from Europe or America will come and give you new jobs, you should not count on it. Do not expect solutions from their side, but from those whom you elected yourselves," Lukashenko told a press conference at the Nis airport. Lukashenko came with his family and staff to Serbia's famous Kopaonik ski resort for his winter vacation.
At the press conference, he said that in Belarus the unemployment rate is currently one per cent, while it was 50 per cent when he came to power.
"The recipe for this is very simple: from mayor to president, everyone should work on creating new jobs and raising the economy. If we can help you, we will," said Lukashenko, noting that it was not easy for Belarus to carry out all the reforms, "especially when having in mind the earlier attitude of the EU and current attitude of America" to his country.
"One of the reasons for such an attitude towards us was my stance towards Kosovo's independence and during the bombing," said Lukashenko, referring to his unwavering support for Serbia during NATO's bombardment in 1999 and his continuing opposition to Kosovo's independence.
Lukashenko was asked about his position regarding the recognition of South Ossetia's and Abkhazia's independence. He said that his country's stance towards this is known, but that he would wait for parliament's decision on the matter. "We have a new parliament and they will make the decision, I won't be giving them any suggestions," said the president.
Only Russia and Nicaragua have so far recognised the two as independent states.
Lukashenko said that he agreed with Serbia's leadership and businessmen in Kopaonik to form a task group made of 10 to 15 businessmen who will work on economic projects between the two countries.
"If you resolve the problem of transport to Kopaonik and modernise everything you already do, you could increase profit by five to ten times," he said.
He said that Belarus is using the two billion dollars it recently received from the IMF to support the local currency.
President of Belarus was in the company of Dragomir Karic, brother of the leader of the Movement of Serbian Forces, Boguljub Karic.