Belarusian recognition of Abkhazia, S-Ossetia is internal affair - Lukashenko

MINSK, May 29 (Itar-Tass) -- The possible Belarusian recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is the question of Belarusian relationships with the Caucasian republics, President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday.

He strongly criticized the comments of Russian Vice-Premier and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin on the Belarusian financial status and said, "This is not the question of South Ossetia or Abkhazia."

"In fact, this is not the question of Russia either. The possible recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is our question and the question of these republics, with which we maintain very good contacts. They know our tactics," the president said at the socioeconomic conference in Minsk.

"I answered the question long ago, and no one in the East or in the West can put pressure on us," he said.

"We are an independent country, and we will do whatever meets our interests," Lukashenko said. "There must be no begging. If Russia does not have the $500 million it promised us long ago, you must not beg for the money."

Belarus must develop its economy as a sovereign and independent nation, he said. "We have many possibilities to influence the situation and to deter the challenges created, in particular, in Russia. Let us use these possibilities. When will you start thinking as officials of an independent country should think?" he wondered.

"This is a big game. If we withstand [the challenges], there will be the state. If not, we will be trampled upon and we will have to beg for a chunk of bread. We represent ten million talented and diligent people, and we must never let them down or deceive," the president said.



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