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Lavrov: Moscow and Minsk will solve all bilateral issues

June 23, 2017, 16:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian top diplomat has commented on rapprochement between Belarus and the European Union

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MOSCOW, June 23./ TASS/. Moscow and Minsk will solve all bilateral issues in a mutually beneficial way, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Belarusian media on the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Belarus.

"When disagreements emerged recently concerning some aspects of our energy cooperation, experts made painstaking efforts and spent much time to pave the way for the agreement reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko at their April meeting," the Russian top diplomat said. "I am sure that such issues will continue to emerge but I am also confident that they will be treated in the same positive way suitable for allies, so that mutually beneficial solutions could be found," Lavrov added.

"As far as the rapprochement between Belarus and the European Union is concerned, we have no allergy or jealousy. It is a natural intention of any country, including Russia, to seek mutually beneficial relations with all of its neighbors."

"There has been no cooling in our attitude towards the European Union. We are still certain that Russia and the European Union, just as Belarus and the European Union, and other neighbors of the European Union should cooperate transparently, equitably and frankly," Lavrov said. He stressed the idea that Russia had never told its partners in the post-Soviet space to choose between Russia and the West.

Russia and Belarus were the first to realize the harm caused by the collapse of relations that had taken shape among the Soviet Union’s constituent republics over years, Lavrov went on. 

He said the intellectual and cultural proximity of Moscow and Minsk furnished a solid basis for bilateral relations.

"As for the period that we have lived through as independent states, since the moment the Soviet Union ceased to exist, I believe that both Belarussians and Russians were the first to have realized the harmfulness of the collapse of relations that emerged in the previous period and that accommodated the fundamental interests of our countries’ peoples," Lavrov said.

"This is precisely what prompted reintegration. That idea was eventually hailed in broader geographic terms by other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States," Lavrov said. "The Union Treaty of 1999 and the treaty of equal rights of Russian and Belarussian citizens concluded a year earlier were the tangible building blocks used to put up the edifice of our Union State, which allows for deriving great benefits from our advanced integration plans and decisions."

"The Union State is our main achievement," Lavrov said. "But a number of plans that had been identified in the Union Treaty are still to be acted on."

"We have never asked our partners on the post-Soviet space: you should choose with whom you want to be - either Russia or with the West," Lavrov said. "Our Western colleagues put this question before the post-Soviet states and did this many times."

During the first wave of Maidan protests in Ukraine, the EU foreign ministers publicly called on Kiev to choose between Russia and Europe, he noted. "This is the ugly subversive policy that still backfires on the Ukrainian people and many others," Lavrov stressed. "This has been used and carried out not only there."

Moscow has always called for an equal and advanced strategic partnership with the European Union, Lavrov said. "This principle remains in our doctrines." "As soon as the EU is ready to change its current absolutely deadlocked line, and these signs are already seen, we will be ready to return to the path of consistent development in the interests of our citizens and EU nationals."

Many members of the EU start realizing that the current line is futile and dislike that "the policy towards Russia is defined by the Russophobic minority that abuses the solidarity in the EU and demands that everyone should show solidarity with their extremist and absolutely anti-Russian approaches," he said. "And they don’t want to show solidarity with those who call for reasonable relations with Russia and don’t what to look for something in the middle."

"Given its geographic and geopolitical situation, Belarus has the right and I’m convinced it should seek good relations with all its neighbors," Lavrov said. "The fact that its neighbors start having insights of wisdom and are giving up their sanctions position in relations with Belarus, this may be only welcomed."

Russia’s top diplomat hopes that this process has started "not to again try to separate Belarus from Russia, and simply because they understand that any sanctions are futile and bring nothing good, including to those who order and fulfill them."

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