Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said the year 2008 would not be easy for Belarus and urged citizens to come down to work vigorously after New Year's holidays.
"The year will not be easy, it will be difficult - not because prices for gas and oil will be rising, or because we will be experiencing shortages. This will be so, because the world is developing this way," Lukashenko said at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk on Monday, where a Christmas service is being conducted.
In 2008 the republic must accomplish a serious breakthrough in economic development, he said. "This is the demand of the time," he added. The country is to fulfill difficult tasks this year, the Belarusian president said.
"It would be easier, though, if no pressure came from the rivals," he said.
The resentment demonstrated to the new state, which Belarus is, by other countries is easy to understand, he said, adding that this resentment breeds pressure.
"The power players don't like smaller nations to assert their rights. One should be calm about it, however, and keep working," the Belarusian president said.
Lukashenko said he himself had become less mindful of this pressure. ( Interfax )