(RIA Novosti) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Thursday urged the EU to abandon its confrontational stance toward the former Soviet republic.
The EU in April approved a ban on entry to the EU against 31 Belarusian officials, after presidential elections in the country in March were declared fraudulent by international observers and opposition leaders. The EU also decided in May to freeze the accounts of Lukashenko, dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by Washington, reports Trend.
"I propose going forward. We should give up confrontation and realize that a proud and freedom-loving nation lives in Belarus, which will not put up with being dictated to by anyone," Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian leader said while receiving the credentials of Ian Boag, the head of the European Commission's Delegation to Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, that his country would make "two or three steps" to meet the EU halfway if the union made at least one step.
Lukashenko said that if Europe wanted to see a prosperous Belarus, then "we will make efforts in that direction."
"But we will never bear uncivilized lunges against our state," he said.
He said that the common values the EU preaches had always been the cornerstone of Belarusian policy, but added that Belarus would only follow this path if it was in line with the country's interests and did not contradict its constitution and laws.
Boag said he could not deny that there were certain difficulties between the EU and Belarus, but added that proposals to open a mission for the EC - the EU's executive arm - in Minsk would help resolve them.
He said Belarus should accept and follow the European Union's values, and then it would be able to use all the opportunities afforded under the EU's policy of neighborly relations. Boag also said initiatives by the Belarusian authorities could contribute to cooperation with the EC.