Belarus leader seeks good ties with both Russia and the West

MINSK, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said his country is seeking to cooperate equally with both Russia and Western countries, BELTA news agency reported on Wednesday.

"We have a multi-dimensional policy, which has been declared since the first days of my presidency, and we are still following this whether people like it or not," he said.

Lukashenko said that Russia "has always been and will remain a brother nation," while the West "is technologically developed region - our neighbors, accounting for half of trade."

Relations between Belarus and Russia, which have been trying for several years to establish a Union State, have been strained recently over a series economic and political disputes, including Russian energy supplies, a milk export row and Lukashenko's reluctance to sign a deal to set up a post-Soviet rapid reaction force.

Belarus and the European Union have recently moved to rebuild ties. The EU lifted a travel ban on Lukashenko and invited Belarus to attend an Eastern Partnership summit earlier this year along with five other ex-Soviet states, offering closer economic and political ties in exchange for commitment to democracy.



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