One can’t go to bed in totalitarian USSR and wake up in democratic state – Belarus FM to Financial Times

In an interview with the influential international newspaper The Financial Times, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey has spoken out on a number of sensitive issues.

Independence of Belarus

“We understood during the world economic and financial crisis that it is extremely important for middle-sized states like Belarus to have diversified relations with many states <…> We don’t want to depend on anyone, be it Washington, be it Brussels, be it Moscow. We just want to pursue our own independent policy. We would like to diversify our trade and economic relations and the EU plays a very important role in our plans.”

Death penalty abolition

“We do not refuse to discuss these issues,” he said, but added that the process would take time.

“You can’t go to bed in the totalitarian Soviet Union and wake up in a totally democratic state. It is impossible.”

Diversifying international ties

According to Makey, Russia remained Minsk’s strategic partner. He also said the concerns about the recent military exercise zapad-2017 were ‘artificially created noise’ as Belarus did not pose a threat to our neighbours nor to any other countries. The Foreign Minister states that Belarus does strive for improving the relations with Europe.

“If we would like to come to your country, then we will come not on tanks, but on tractors,” he said implying that Belarus might export its tractors to Europe.

Read the full interview on, via FT

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