Lukashenko, Lavrov discuss bilateral relations, international issues

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Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergei Lavrov met in Minsk on 16 May to discuss the Belarusian-Russian relations, integration issues, and the international situation, BelTA has learned.

“Once again we have an opportunity to discuss and clarify certain issues and problems which, probably, emerge in the relations between the two states,” the Belarusian president said at the beginning of the meeting.

He remarked that the Belarusian-Russian relations have been recently discussed at the session of the Union State Council of Ministers and the bilateral meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Mogilev. “We could discuss all issues in a friendly atmosphere. We do not have closed topics. I had an open conversation with the prime minister of Russia. Therefore, we paid as much attention to certain issues as possible during that meeting,” the Belarusian leader said.

The president also pointed out a high level of cooperation between the foreign ministries of the two countries. “There would be no problems at all if all ministries worked in such a collaborative manner,” he noted.

Alexander Lukashenko invited Sergei Lavrov to discuss the prospects of Belarus-Russia relations, integration in the format of the Eurasian Economic Union in the run-up to the top-level meeting that will take place on 31 May. “I would like to listen to your opinion on a number of international issues, in particular, on the situation in Ukraine and Syria. Probably, you will even brief me on the recent developments because we need to know how to coordinate and adjust our position on a number of issues,” the head of state said.

Alexander Lukashenko also expressed readiness to answer all questions. “We have an absolutely open and friendly conversation. In this format I am ready to discuss all issues with you,” the president said.

“We absolutely share the concept of our relations which you have just voiced. Certain issues emerge between all countries and allies. But our relations can boast the fact that we discuss these issues with out friends and partners. We always understand each other although sometimes it takes more than one day to find solutions,” the Russian minister emphasized.

Sergei Lavrov praised a regular format of the Belarusian-Russian bilateral and multilateral contacts. “We have a rich agenda this year. During your visit to Moscow in December you and Vladimir Putin passed a joint statement to set a number of foreign political tasks. The Supreme State Council session which took place in February approved a new program of concerted foreign policy efforts for 2016-2017. Therefore, now we are busy with fulfilling the presidents’ instructions,” he said.

According to Sergei Lavrov, the international situation requires close coordination, including on such issues as European security, the situation in Ukraine, Syria, and the Middle East in general. “And our interaction in the UN, OSCE, other international formats, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization where Belarus has an observer status,” the minister said.

He added that another issue discussed during the talks was the need to prevent the attempts to glorify Nazism and rewrite history, and to protect the memory of World War Two and the Great Patriotic War.

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