10 Oct 2018 13:16

Lukashenko expects relations with Russia to thrive during Ambassador Babich's tenure

MINSK. Oct 10 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said he expects bilateral relations with Russia to thrive during the tenure of Russian Ambassador to Belarus Mikhail Babich.

"I'd like your tenure at the embassy of brotherly Russia in Belarus to be the most active, effective, and productive period ever. If you have such a wish, and I believe that you do, you can count on being successful. Our relations with Russia will thrive as never before during this period," the BeITA state news agency quoted Lukashenko as telling Babich at a meeting in Minsk on Wednesday.

Various assumptions were made and various reports published by the media before Babich was appointed, Lukashenko said.

"You know that the previous ambassador was in office for a very long time, and the issue was not highlighted in Belarus. Then a new ambassador was appointed. Due to our relations with Russia, it was through your person that a particular group of people tried to express something," Lukashenko said.

"I'll say it straight, most remarks were negative. This is the main thing I want to say publicly: they shouldn't hold their breath," he said.

Lukashenko said a conversation he had with Russian President Vladimir Putin gave him confidence in the successful development of Belarusian-Russian relations during Babich's tenure. "I don't hide the fact that we discussed your candidacy many times. The president told me a lot. And we made it clear that by vesting additional powers in the Russian ambassador (which are huge and unprecedented in the history of Belarusian-Russian relations, primarily in the economic field), the Russian president indicates that Belarus today is a hugely important country that Russia will be developing relations with," he said.