Belarus ready to boost its role in Ukrainian settlement - Lukashenko
MINSK. April 15 (Interfax) - Belarus is ready to more actively participate in the Ukrainian settlement, but is not imposing itself as a peacekeeper, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said.
"Seeing how slowly this process, this bad process is going, how the achieved Minsk Agreements are not fulfilled, I said frankly, if the two presidents, of Russia and Ukraine, Putin and Poroshenko, reach an agreement and see greater Belarus's role there, we are ready to play this role. But we will never impose ourselves as a peacekeeper, as a mediator. We don't need it, it doesn't make us look good," Lukashenko was quoted by the BelTA state news agency as saying in an interview with Turkey's Anadolu news agency.
Lukashenko said that he "begins to be badmouthed in Russia and in Ukraine" whenever he starts speaking about Ukraine. "Someone doesn't like something. Therefore, I said: reach agreements, convince us about this agreement and we will try to fulfil the role that will be given to us. The purpose is one: peace and stability in the area of Donbas and Luhansk and in the entire Ukraine," Lukashenko said.
The Ukrainian conflict is having a dangerous influence on Belarus, he said. "A great number of people cross the border with weapons, some Belarussian people went there and fought there, they smelled blood; this is also a very dangerous tendency. That country is close to us, and therefore the people of Belarus and I are involved in this conflict, regardless of whether I want it or not," he said.
"There's a war going on literally on the other side of our fence. Therefore, I agreed to that Trilateral Contact Group, and we are now doing everything to support its work and ensure its functioning. I recently met with the head of this group; OSCE special envoy (Martin) Sajdik. He told me directly: we don't have any problems, we only express gratitude for this work," Lukashenko said.