9 Aug 2022 19:50

Belarus should not quit EU market, despite sanctions - Lukashenko

MINSK. Aug 9 (Interfax) - Belarus should not leave the European Union market, even despite being under sanctions pressure, the country's President Alexander Lukashenko said, calling on the Foreign Ministry to get involved in trade affairs as well as making political statements.

"By no means should we leave [our business relationship with] the European Union. This is our closest neighbor. Half of our work there, I think, were our exports. We need to work with them. The madness of the politicians is receding to the back burner. Business is business," Lukashenko was quoted by his press service as telling the government in Minsk on Tuesday.

By way of example the president cited the high global demand for mineral fertilizers and petroleum products, which Belarus makes. He said he was certain that the EU was keen on buying Belarusian products.

"We might not be active enough in promoting our products under these conditions to those markets. If they need our goods, they are also looking to acquire [them]. So, in no event should they be discarded, not even in a certain rhetoric [or] terminology should this be ruled out. On the contrary, this is the way to go, by creating new chains in order to trade," Lukashenko said.

The West is already keen to resume dialogue with Belarus, the president said, urging diplomats to engage in trade and not to be confined to political statements about the illegitimacy of Western sanctions.

"The Poles, and others, are already offering us: let's talk. Okay, let's. But our Foreign Ministry is still dragging its feet," Lukashenko said.