Belarus is ready to switch over to pragmatic relations with Russia, Lukashenka says

Belarus is ready to switch over, “in a calm and businesslike manner,” to pragmatic relations with Russia, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Thursday while meeting with the visiting governor of Russia's province of Kursk, Aleksandr Mikhailov, as quoted by BelaPAN.

But these relations should not be unfair and discriminatory as is the case with Russia’s export duty on petroleum products, which does not apply to exports to Kazakhstan, the Belarusian leader said.

It is necessary that the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia be governed by strict and clear rules, which should be free of exceptions, “all the more so as the exceptions [from the free trade regime] that exist bring no benefit but only harm to our relations with the Russian Federation,” Mr. Lukashenka suggested.

According to him, these issues were discussed with the Russian leadership at meetings in Moscow and Astana. However, he said, “the implementation of the agreements that were reached has been delayed and not through our fault.”

“They tell us a lot about the need to make relations pragmatic,” Mr. Lukashenka said. “God only knows whether we really need such an approach to our relations between two historically and spiritually close states and peoples. Certainly, not all can be measured by rubles, dollars or, if you like, cubic meters of gas. But since someone in Moscow has decided so, we have to take this into consideration.”