BREST, 6 September (BelTA) – Belarus remains committed to a multi-vector policy in its relations with other countries, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he answered a question of a BelTA journalist on 6 September.
“I have never missed an opportunity to reiterate that we stick to a multi-vector policy in our foreign relations. It was God, not me, who chose this land for Belarusians to live. Where can we go? There is no other place where we would be just as welcome. No one can give us some other land. We will not let anyone enslave us (we have been under the yoke before). This is our piece of land. It is located in the center of Europe, at the crossroads of all routes,” the head of state said.
In his words, today this land is subject to an invisible fight. “Everyone wants to have a role here. You know me and my character very well. I do not accept a situation when someone's influence turns detrimental to our people. I totally reject it. Our vision is based on the multi-vector policy. We should look at the East and the West. By the way, Russia cannot find fault with us, as their heraldic symbol is a double-headed eagle that looks at both sides. No one can prevent us from looking in various directions, either,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out to the importance of Belarus as a transit country and the fact that it is probably Russia's only friendly neighbor that serves as a link between Russia and the West. Besides, Belarus is located along the trade route between China and Western Europe. “Rail and road traffic has increased, and this is primarily due to China. It is a boon for us. They transport their goods there, and when these empty containers come back they can take on our goods on their way to China. This is the way we are diversifying our sales markets. Xi Jinping has opened the Chinese market for us (I really appreciate it, he is a great friend of our people). This is why this piece of land is so valuable,” he explained.
Aleksandr Lukashenko commented on various conspiracy theories regarding the visit of U.S. President's National Security Advisor John Bolton to Belarus and the president's decision not to go to Poland for the events marking the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.
“Indeed, Bolton came. Why not? Was Belarus his primary goal? It was not, he had already been to Sochi and Moscow and hugged with my friend and partner Putin. We were okay with it. We did not raise our voice. No big deal. It is important to hold talks, in particular, for Belarus, as our country had been subject to sanctions for a long time; they put us to the test multiple times. And then they came and suggested a meeting. I think it was right; we need to build ties with them. It is an empire, the most powerful country,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.
He noted that Russia is also seeking rapprochement with the United States. “Why should we not do it? We are not turning to the West or to the East. We will look both ways and take care of our own interests, the same way as any other state does. Generally speaking, Russia's government does not criticize me for that. These conspiracy theories come from the so-called political analysts, social scientists, and journalists who push for someone's agenda. They start attacking from all the sides. It is clear that it is paid journalism and I know who paid for it,” the president said.
“We will calm down, dust will settle and the wind will blow it away. Our relations with Russians will remain the same, despite their policy on hydrocarbons and barriers for our foodstuffs. We go to this market and sell our products there in order to make money and pay for oil and gas. As simple as that. No need to look for some hidden motives aimed against the West or Russia,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Speaking about the commemorative events in Poland on 1 September, the Belarusian leader said that he had nothing against the idea to hold anniversary observances marking the outbreak of WW2. Indeed, commemorative events timed to the beginning of the Great Patriotic War are regularly held in Brest. “However, we do not use this date for any political purposes. This should not be done. I am against politicization of this event. Our people were there on 1 September. It is true, the president did not go. But I was not the only one who did not come. It was not some move against the West. We have and will have a very good attitude to the Polish people, because Poles and Russians also live here. We used to be part of one state. Our country is home to many Poles. Why should we quarrel with them. Indeed, sometimes we do not like the policy they pursue. You know my stance on that. I tell them: keep in mind, we will respond,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“The same was with the deployment of various missiles. We responded – and developed the Polonez rocket system. They got scared when they found themselves in the crosshairs. I told them to remove their missiles. However, I ordered to put our own missiles in a hangar. I thought: whatever they will do, we will retaliate. We do not want to fight with anyone. But we will not let anyone humiliate us anymore. Not a single state, neither powerful ones, nor smaller states,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Commenting on the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not invited to the commemorative events in Poland, the Belarusian head of state said that it is Poland's business. Besides, the Russian leader was probably not dying to go there. “I know Putin very well. He was not eager to go there. We have our own events to commemorate the fallen. Well, no invitation was sent… Maybe, he did not fit into the format of these events. Maybe, some do not like him. But what I do not like is that the Russian president was not invited. We fought together, first of all, Belarusians and Russians. The biggest contribution to the victory was made by Russian people,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“These matters should not be politicized. No one knows where we will be in a decade or two. Therefore, we should not use this matter against each other. I would like to emphasize again that we were not against this idea. Our people were there [in Poland] and attended the ceremony, our ambassador and diplomats were there. I do not see any attacks against the-West in this,” the Belarusian leader said.