MINSK, November 17 /TASS/. Minsk considers Russia to be a strategic partner, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stated at a news conference held for Russian regional media outlets on Thursday.
"Russia has always been and remains our strategic partner and ally. Moreover, it’s also a fraternal state for us," Lukashenko said.
He believes that inter-regional cooperation is a vital area for Belarus-Russia integration. "If it had not been for regional cooperation in a certain period of our history, today we would have been unable to say that our nations are brotherly," the Belarusian president emphasized.
He added that Moscow and Minsk were developing dynamic inter-regional ties. "Dozens of delegations from Russian regions along with their leaders visit Belarus every year. The same number of delegations from (Belarusian) regions pay reciprocal visits to (Russia)," Lukashenko stated. He also highlighted the fact that more than 8,000 enterprises in both countries have production cooperation links.
Lukashenko noted that Belarus remained committed to "all the agreements concluded with Russia within the framework of the Union State (of Russia and Belarus) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)."
"We defend the economic interests of (Russia), curb attempts to bring embargoed western goods into Russia and simultaneously take measures to replace them with our (Belarusian) products," Lukashenko explained.
"Today, there is a chance to raise Belarusian-Russian relations to a qualitatively new level and give an impetus to the development of the Eurasian Economic Union," the Belarusian president stressed.
"This integrational body has yet to elevate itself to our union’s (of Russia and Belarus) level," the Belarusian president said.
Minsk and Moscow have no differences on international issues, he went on.
"The two states do not disagree on international issues. There is a good reason for Russia and Belarus to come out in a united front when it comes to key global matters," Lukashenko said. He emphasized that the two states "should stand together, stay strong, be able to honor one another by collectively defending each other’s interests," the Belarusian president went on to say.
"We live in peace and harmony under our roof," Lukashenko said adding that it was something the fraternal Ukraine did not have.
Lukashenko noted that Belarus was one of the most stable corners on Earth. "Our doors are always open wide for good people. Both the Old and the New Worlds are coming to realize that. Belarus has never been Europe’s troublemaker," Lukashenko explained.
He noted that Belarus was spending a great deal of effort to make the European continent live and develop tranquilly. "This work becomes even more effective when we do it together as fraternal nations in a Union State," the Belarusian leader said.
"The Russian president and I have agreed to meet each other sometime (on November 22) this week. We will sit down together to discuss some fundamental issues," the Belarusian leader said.
"We simply need to fulfill our commitments," Lukashenko explained adding that both Belarus and Russia have mutual demands on one other. "Let’s sit down and discuss these issues calmly. We will try to add momentum to our relations," the Belarusian leader stressed. "We have not done anything good this year so far," Lukashenko concluded.