MINSK, 7 August (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has reiterated that he is not a supporter of the disintegration of the European Union and he regrets the UK's withdrawal from it. At the same time this situation can offer additional opportunities for Belarus-UK relations, Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with outgoing Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Fionna Gibb on 7 August, BelTA has learned.
“You know that I am not in favor of the collapse of the European Union, though my attitude to it might seem odd. Not everyone understands me. They say that the EU acted so mean towards me and called me a dictator (maybe, someone still calls me this way) and fenced us out, which ruined our relations; they also imposed sanctions. However, we should not dwell on it. This is bad for our relations, but these are minor things. The European Union is the pillar of the world together with the United States, China, India and Russia. These are the pillars of the world. If any of them, especially the European Union, is removed, the world will keep standing, but it will start reeling. It will hurt stability in our Eurasian region, too,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The president emphasized that taking this all into consideration, he wants the European Union to go on. “In this regard, talking to your politicians (many of them came here thanks to you), I said that I got a mixed feeling when Great Britain announced its withdrawal from the European Union,” the head of state said.
According to the Belarusian leader, Great Britain is a very powerful country that has done a lot for the European Union. “Together with Germany, France and Italy, the UK made the European Union so strong. Naturally, it is a big loss,” he said.
At the same time, the head of state believes that this situation can open up great opportunities for building Belarus-UK relations. The president called for strengthening bilateral cooperation. “The bilateral relations have got a higher profile recently. They have become good. Their foundation, which is trade, is solid now. Our potential is huge if coupled with your capacities,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“I don't know what appointment you will take next. Of course, I will be really happy for you if you take up some senior position at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I would ask you to tell the foreign office that we need to scale up relations. There are no vacant niches in these heady days. Someone will certainly fill the void,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.
He pointed to tremendous opportunities for cooperation taking into consideration Belarus' membership in the Eurasian Economic Union. “We would like to be more visible for the UK. Assembly of electric buses and other things are nothing compared to what we can do in the UK and what you can do in Belarus. I earnestly ask you to pay attention to it and step up our relations. We have got such an opportunity now. The Brussels bureaucracy is gone. You are more flexible to make decisions,” the head of state added.More about President