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Lukashenko: EU, U.S. impeding Belarusian admission to WTO

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Oct. 8, 2012, 6:45 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks to the media at a polling station after voting during parliamentary elections in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012.
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Minsk - Belarus is ready to enter into the World Trade Organization (WTO) but the European Union and the United States are hampering its accession, President Alexander Lukashenko told the Mir interstate broadcaster.

"We have long been prepared to join the WTO; we have held negotiations. But we suddenly bumped into a political barrier," he said.

"They tell us it is a purely commercial and economic organization. Not at all; it is dominated by politics. The European Union and the United States built that political fence for well-known reasons: they allege we "do not observe human rights", we are "the last stronghold of dictatorship" and so on," the Belarusian president said.

"Time marches on and people can see what is really happening. This means we will join the WTO sooner or later," he said. "Actually, the pressing need for doing that disappeared after the Russian entry into the WTO. Practically, we will operate within the WTO framework as Russia is our main trade partner," Lukashenko said.

"We will get accustomed to the norms of the World Trade Organization step by step. We cannot help that; we cannot isolate ourselves from the world as our economy is export-centered. We will have to join the WTO sooner or later," the Belarusian president said.

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