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Lukashenko says will not have to make choice between West, East

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May 8, 2012, 3:41 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

Belarus has advanced the idea of "an integration of the integrated systems," and its goal is to form a common economic space from Lisbon to the Far East.
© AFP

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said that sanctions and other forms of pressure on Belarus will have no effect and that Belarus will not have to choose between the Eastern and Western vectors. "We do look at some aspects of social set-up from different angles. But disagreements must be smoothed out in dialogue, not by way of sanctions, or bans. The policy of sanctions is erroneous, primarily because it is hopeless and ineffective," Lukashenko said in his address to the nation and parliament on Tuesday.

Many analysts argue that Belarus will have to choose between its partners in the East and partners in the West, and they are talking about "a pendulum which can swing this way or that way," he said."Belarus is not hostile either to the European Union, or to the United States, Because we look at what unites, not splits us in the first place. We are looking ahead into one future," the Belarusian president said.

"Many of the analysts are asking us: Are you going this way, or that way? Do you side with this camp, or that camp? All of these approaches are obsolete. Sensible politicians understand very well that there is no pendulum whatsoever, but the country, as it lives and looks into the future, has its objective interests," he said.

It is in the country's strategic interests to see the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Community as something that is not opposed to one another, and as something that will unite, not divide the continent," Lukashenko said.

Therefore, Belarus has advanced the idea of "an integration of the integrated systems," and its goal is to form a common economic space from Lisbon to the Far East. This is precisely what the Russian president is talking about," Lukashenko said.Lukashenko added that the European Union is Belarus' strategic economic partner.
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