Belarus not meddling in Ukrainian events - Lukashenko
MINSK. Oct 8 (Interfax) - Belarus is not interfering in the events in Ukraine, even though their influence on Belarus is very significant, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Monday.
"You know my position on the events in Ukraine. We don't want to interfere in the events in Ukraine in any way. To put it bluntly, it's not our business if we aren't asked. Although, I'll tell you honestly - and we'll talk about this - the events in Ukraine have a very considerable effect on us. We are especially concerned about the influx of weapons over the Ukrainian border. We've been seizing a lot of weapons," the Belarusian presidential press service quoted Lukashenko as saying.
Some of these weapons have come to Belarus from Ukraine via Russia, he said. "When criminal cases are investigated, we've recorded such instance as well. And I've told the Russian president about this. This is what really worries us," he said.
"But, frankly speaking, everything could have been much worse. And, to be sincere, there aren't hard feelings toward the Belarusians on the part of Ukrainians. There is no clash between the people's opinions, between the nations. This is the main thing. This is encouraging. This is the foundation of our good relations. There are quite a few problems, though, and I am ready to discuss these problems," Lukashenko said.
He discussed Yushchenko's presidency in the context of relations between Belarus and Ukraine.
"Compared with our times - I'm not only talking about Ukraine and Belarus - I mean also our interrelations in the former Soviet space. Surely, these were not the worst times, especially between our countries. With all our differences and different viewpoints, we could always reach a consensus and keep on building our relations," he said.
"This doesn't only concern us. No matter how hard things got, we were able to find a common and mutually acceptable language with the Russian Federation and with other countries. All kinds of things happened, but, on the whole, we were able to achieve a positive result. And our trade grew at a high rate. On the other hand, it would also be unreasonable to complain now: our trade growth is 20%-30%. By the way, it's even higher in the CIS. We're seeing such growth for the second year. There was a significant drop, but now there has been considerable growth within the Eurasian Economic Union and within the CIS on the whole. The same is occurring with Ukraine, as well," he said.