The head of state answered over 40 questions of Russian journalists during the four-hour news conference. The Russians naturally wished to know more about Belarus’ official position on the development of the Union State, trade relations with Russian regions and Belarus’ foreign policy. Besides, the reporters were interested in Belarus’ domestic situation, its socioeconomic and cultural development.
The president noted that Russia lacks objective, honest and comprehensive information about Belarus. “No other nations are as close as Belarus and Russia,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “We lived and keep living in the single economic, social, cultural and information space. We are building our Union together, we develop all-round cooperation and we are doing our best,” the head of state said.
Alexander Lukashenko noted that “Belarusians are well aware of how brotherly Russia lives, as all major television and radio channels, the press and Internet media present their meticulous reports without any restrictions.”
“Do Russians know a lot about their neighbor? No, very little. The information that reaches Russians is often distorted, and most of news reports about Belarus are initiated by local opposition activists or their western sponsors,” said the Belarusian leader. “In Russia you have powers that dislike Belarus as it is now — not plundered and free from crime,” the president added.
The head of state reiterated that Belarus aims at creating the Union State with Russia adding that the Union State remained Belarus’ key foreign political and economic priority.
“Belarus should give credit for the progress that it has reached to the countries with which we have established stable diplomatic and trade relations,” the president said. According to him, “we are an open economy, we buy a lot, the imports are very big; we produce goods here and export them.” Besides, Alexander Lukashenko noted again that Belarus with its location in the center of Europe naturally accounts for immense freight traffic from west to east and from east to west.
Belarus’ membership in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) gives the country significant political and economic benefits, President Lukashenko said. “The most important thing is business. The Movement includes the wealthiest countries of the world with over a half of the planet’s population and 85% of the world’s oil deposits. This is a unique forum where it is possible to discuss many problems. We made preparations and agreed to exchange visits and sign specific contracts for both supplies of our products and purchases of goods from other NAM members,” the president said.
Besides, he moved on, Belarus has political interests, too, making its way in NAM. “They sometimes say Belarus is isolated. What isolation are we talking about if the country is part to such a big organization?” the president said.
He went on to say that the main idea of the Belarusian proposals at the Havana summit was that time has come to lay economic foundation under political relations. The head of state noted that all the economic and political proposals of the Belarusian delegation were included in the final declaration of the summit and backed by all NAM member-states. “This is an essential political achievement of Belarus,” the head of state said.
President Lukashenko believes it would be very useful for the two nations if journalists representing dozens of media outlets and news services from Russian regions could come to Belarus at least once a year. Russian reporters familiarize themselves with life in Belarus, see what really happens here and bring true information over to Russia, the president said. Alexander Lukashenko did not rule out that meetings of the kind could happen in future, but their form may change a bit.