Belarus expects Europe to lift sanctions - president

Belarus expects Europe to lift the various sanctions Europe introduced and offended the country, said Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko on September 30 as he met with Anne-Marie Lizin, OSCE PA Vice President, head of the OSCE PA short-term mission for monitoring the parliamentary elections in Belarus, reported Belta.

"The iron curtain should be removed first. Instead of talking like bad neighbours over the fence we should start a normal political dialogue," the head of state is convinced.

Alexander Lukashenko underscored Belarus has never broken its commitments. "You should know that if we reach an agreement, the Belarusians will always keep their word. If in political and economic cooperation Europe makes two steps, we will make five," said the President.

The Belarusian head of state expects Europe to be consistent. "You always criticised the Soviet Union for building some sort of an iron curtain, fencing itself from the entire world and Europe. Well done! Why did you build this metal fence around us now? We expect the various sanctions you introduced and offended the Belarusian nation to be lifted," said Alexander Lukashenko.

In his words, there are at least two reasons Europe did not have the right to introduce even the slightest sanctions against Belarus. "First, during World War Two we lost one third of the nation, we defended the entire Europe. Second, the Chernobyl tragedy: it wasn't us who built the station, we didn't operate it and we didn't blow it up. But 85% of the disaster befell us. Why do you have to force some kind of a European Chernobyl on us by introducing sanctions and pressuring our country, our people? What is the Belarusian nation guilty of for Europe? We don't expect you to do miracles and don't ask to give us money to enter the European Union like other countries do. Let's cooperate in a normal way," said the President.

Alexander Lukashenko underscored the Belarusians don't want to live at the expense of the Europeans and can earn their living independently. "But we have to talk. One more time, if Europe is not ready for it, tell us about it, we will understand it and will not press it upon you," added the head of state. He also remarked, visa restrictions for some Belarusian officials are the least of the concerns.

"In Europe they are starting to understand that they made a very unwise move. It is just not natural for old Europe. What kind of view is that: we will not let you into Germany, Austria, the Netherlands. Fine, we don't need it but we will not let anyone into Belarus! It is an asymmetric response," said Alexander Lukashenko.

The head of state said visa restrictions disgrace Europe. "Placing our nation into visa conditions different from those of Ukraine and Russia even humiliated Europe," believes Alexander Lukashenko.



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