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Belarusian opposition says advocates friendly relations with Russia, other countries

One of the united opposition headquarters’ leaders noted that other countries already seek to establish contact with the opposition

MINSK, August 18. /TASS/. The Belarusian opposition Coordination Council advocates friendly relations with all countries, including Russia, Ukraine and the European Union, says Maria Kolesnikova, one of the united opposition headquarters’ leaders.

"Our official position - we will maintain friendly, mutually beneficial relations that are pragmatic, crystal and transparent for everyone. We benefit from talking to all our partners: the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the EU," she said Tuesday, answering a question about allegations of pro-Western and anti-Russian course of the opposition.

Kolesnikova called such allegations a manipulation. Besides, she noted that other countries already seek to establish contact with the opposition.

"We have already received requests for dialogue from foreign partners," Kolesnikova said.

Meanwhile, another member of the Council, diplomat Pavel Latushko, believes that Russia and the European Union must act as moderators in the dialogue with the society, and, to a certain extent, as guarantors of the opposition in the current situation.

"We try to come up with how to smooth out all the sharpest edges, in a bid to avoid a situation of persecution. Let us speak about guarantees of the Coordination Council’s operation. […] Such guarantees are necessary. And the role of our neighbors - Russia and the EU is required here. I am certain that […] this is both in Russia’s and the EU’s interests. […] We are interested in advice, dialogue mediation within the society, from these respected partners," Latushko said.

He underscored that the opposition considers it disadvantageous to sever ties with Russia - primarily because of the economic reasons.

"A politician to suggest building a wall between Belarus and Russia will be the last one, because the Russian Federation comprises 50% of our exports; we also receive key resources from Russia. It is pragmatic and trivial to have the best relations with Russia," he explained.

According to Latushko, the necessity to cooperate with the West stems from the same reason.

"We are interested in stellar relations with the EU, because it is the second largest market for our exports - 30% to 34%," he said, adding that Russia and the EU must "respond to expectations of the [Belarusian] society, not the authorities, who lost the society’s trust.".