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Belarusian president urges support for preserving EU 'at all costs'

March 15, 2017, 12:38 UTC+3 MINSK

At the same time, the president said he was against "double standards" sometimes demonstrated by some European states

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MINSK, March 15. /TASS/. Belarus, a strong supporter of a united Europe, seeks to prevent the breakup of the European Union, the country’s President Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting with Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders.

"Lately, I have been calling for the preservation of the European Union," Lukashenko said. "I fully support a multipolar world and the EU, the most powerful pillar along with China, the US and the EU, this is an influential foundation for the planet," the president resumed. "If it disappears, misfortune will rear its head," he warned.

The Belarusian leader acknowledged that he does not understand nationalist movements in EU states and stories buzzing about the possible withdrawal of some countries from the community.

"At all costs, the EU needs to be preserved," Lukashenko stressed, adding that this position conforms to his personal stance and state interests. "The more pillars, the more stable the system is, that’s why I’m a supporter of the EU."

The president said he was against "double standards" sometimes seen in the EU. However, Belarus is less subjected to them now. "I would like the EU to live up to those declarations that it offers to the world - honesty, decency and democracy."

Lukashenko also called Reynders’ visit to Belarus a significant event, noting that "a lot depends on it" both in bilateral relations and the republic’s ties with Brussels. "I can guarantee to you that our country will always work for unity and stability in Europe," he emphasized. "We want to cooperate with you. Let’s begin from the areas that are beneficial for you and what you can do, judging on your principles."

Following the Brexit referendum in June 2016, as many as 51.9% of the UK citizens (17.41 million people) voted in favor of leaving the European Union, while 48.1% (16.14 million) voted to remain part of the bloc. The UK is expected to leave the EU in March 2019. France’s far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen has also announced plans to hold a referendum on France’s exit from the EU, if she wins the country’s presidential election this spring.

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