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Lukashenko: Russia is Belarus' most important foreign political, economic partner

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Sept. 10, 2012, 4:35 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) shakes hands with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko during their meeting in Minsk on July 18, 2012.
© AFP

MINSK - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has reaffirmed the course towards strategic partnership with Russia.

"The Russian Federation is the most important foreign political and foreign economic partner. I hope very much that you will be a worthy representative of Belarusian state interests in the Russian Federation," Lukashenko told Igor Petrishenko, whom he appointed as the Belarusian Ambassador to Russia on Monday, Sept.10.

"I want you to understand that the Ambassador to the Russian Federation, same as the Ambassador to Venezuela and other prime regions, is more than just an ambassador," he said.

Apart from being the ambassador, Petrishenko will represent Belarus at various integration structures, Lukashenko said. "These include politics, economy, military-technical and defense cooperation of our countries," he noted.

"It would be pointless to have a separate man for each of these areas, because the work scale is not that big," he said. In his words, the foreign minister and the presidential administration head "will soon propose cuts of redundant personnel."

"We have about 200 representatives but only 50 of them are working. So, we will optimize the structure soon," he said.

Lukashenko did not rule out that the policy might change for Russia due to the active development of integration processes. "In fact, we have much work here. Integration has not just resumed; it is very active due to the Russian side striving for integration. If necessary, we will be ready to reconsider the policy by your suggestion," he told the new ambassador.

Before being appointed the ambassador on Monday, Petrishenko had been the First Deputy Foreign Minister.

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