MINSK, 12 January (BelTA) – Belarus is the best place ever to materialize Olympic ideas, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said during the ceremony to present the Spiritual Revival Awards, special prizes to art luminaries, and the Belarusian Sports Olympus Awards on 12 January, BelTA has learned.
During the ceremony, the head of state took an aside moment to comment on yesterday's negotiations with the IIHF on the world championship this year.
“As soon as they ended, our opposition figures living abroad attacked our best friends (not Belarusians, but foreign friends who have always supported us). It is a shame to have such people among us. But I want to say, since this matter is broadly discussed, that we are ready to host any international sporting events, including in the cultural dimension. As for the Ice Hockey World Championship, (we won the right to host it in a fair competition), I said that that we are ready to organize it even tomorrow. But there is still a lot of work to do for this. And, unfortunately, we will have to prove again that we are worthy. We are ready to talk to any honest people, including the opposition, but not traitors. We are ready to engage in a dialogue with any opposition (you have seen this and you know it) on any issues, from constitutional changes to the future of our Belarus. But we will not kneel down before anyone!” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“We were on our knees for many, many centuries. Enough is enough. We have risen from the knees and will stand firmly on our feet. Therefore, I want to warn everyone who still cherishes hope to turn the country upside down: nothing will come out of it,” the head of state emphasized.
According to him, during the negotiations with President of the International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel, the parties agreed on one thing: sport should unite nations, not divide them. “If they withstand pressure from their own politicians, we will hold a beautiful sports event in our country. We can do it without Latvia if they don't want it,” the Belarusian leader noted.
“I am sure that our Belarus, a beautiful, hospitable and safe country, is the best place on earth to implement the ideas of Olympism, cultural ideas. And we are ready to do this. I emphasize once again: we are ready to maintain a dialogue in this regard with any forces, including opposition, that will strive to make the country better. You cannot build a country and even take power in Belarus through destruction. Belarusians will not tolerate regress and destruction. They promise us that we will overcome all this and become rich – it has never worked this way and never will. Examples of our neighbors suggest otherwise,” the head of state said.