No "bargaining" in Belarus-EU dialogue, Alexander Lukashenko says
There should be no "bargaining" in the development of a political dialogue between Belarus and the European Union, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Javier Solana, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union, in Minsk on February 19, BelTA reported.
"I have got a feeling that at this stage of development of our relations there is some "bargaining" going on between Belarus and the European Union in both economic and political issues. We act according to the principle: We did this thing, now you do this. And then a dialogue acquires a form of bargaining, which is perhaps unavoidable in politics but I believe is undesirable and, what is more, one does not need it: the European Union is full aware of what modern Belarus means for Europe," the head of state said.
"On our part, we know how important the European Union is for us, both in terms of politics and economy, above all, economy," Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President thanked Xavier Solana for assistance in establishing good neighbourly relations between Belarus and Europe. "According to the information I have and to what I feel personally, neither this talk nor the present-day thawing in our relations would have been possible without you," Alexander Lukashenko said.
In October 2008 and January 2009 two first sessions of the EU Troika and Belarus were held on the level of foreign ministers who, according to experts, laid a foundation for a regular political dialogue between the EU and Belarus.
At present, the Eastern Partnership initiative is being discussed. This project announced by the EU on December 3, 2008, envisages a considerable expansion of cooperation between the European Union and Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Eastern Partnership concept is to be finalized in March 2009. The programme will be formally inaugurated on May 7 in Prague at the EU Summit (in the format 27 EU member states + 6 neighbouring countries).
The project will be implemented in two formats: bilateral (the EU +1) depending on the level of democratic development and interest of each of the country and multilateral (the EU + 6) aimed to enhance cooperation between the neighbouring countries to promote democracy, efficient governing and domestic stability, economic integration, energy security and migration.