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Belarus opposes West’s attempts to involve it into ‘Crimea annexation’ dispute — president

May 22, 2015, 13:30 UTC+3 MINSK

Alexander Lukashenko noted that it's inapropriate to discuss who is right and who is wrong until the war in Ukraine is stopped

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Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko

© Alexey Nikolsky/Russian president's press service

MINSK, May 22. /TASS/. Minsk is against the attempts of the West to draw it into the dispute on the "annexation of Crimea," Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told a meeting of the trade union federation on Friday.

"First, the issue of [war in Ukraine] needs to be solved and then it should be discussed who is right and who is wrong. But they are trying to entangle Belarus," Lukashenko said.

"Ok, let’s write "annexation" and everyone will be silent. But we cannot support this position," he said speaking about the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, Latvia, where the dispute on the final document occurred.

The Ukrainian events should have served as a lesson to everyone that peace needs to be preserved, Lukashenko said. "We should see the main thing and solve the problem," he stressed, adding that Belarus is totally against making the Eastern Partnership "directed against anyone."

"Russia is not part of the Eastern Partnership, and why should be behind its back, without Russia and should batter it, including for Crimea," Lukashenko said, adding that no one must be offended that Belarus has not backed the wording.

"Why should we be against Russia?" Lukashenko asked. Today Minsk has proved to be a venue for peace talks where the leaders of world powers gather to stop the war, he said. "And they tell us: let’s stand against Russia together."

Then in this case, Belarus would no more be a neutral country. "This contradicts our internal beliefs. Don’t world leading Western powers see this?" he said, stressing that it is most important now not to accuse but to grant peace to Ukraine.

"We need to solve the key issue, and we have nearly become a rogue state in the Eastern Partnership," he said.

Belarus has no plans to be involved in any adventurism, he stressed.

"We want our land to work towards peace," Lukashenko said, adding that someone is "itching to have instability here." The Belarus leader said everyone has to fight for security today as the world is very unstable.

A source told TASS earlier that at least two countries at the summit - Belarus and Armenia - called against using the term "illegal annexation of Crimea" in the final document.

Crimea rejoined Russia after a referendum held on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.

Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

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