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President: EU, U.S. ties "principal component" in Belarus' foreign policy
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09:00, April 30, 2008

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Belarus' relations with the European Union and the United States are "a principal component" of its foreign policy, President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday.

"The European Union is the No. 2 trading partner for us, and beside economics, there are a thousand threads of new challenges and problems that bind us together. Our relations will keep gaining in significance," Lukashenko said in an address in parliament.

Belarus is "ready for concessions and compromises, but not where fundamental principles" are to be sacrificed, he added.

As to ties with the United States, the president said: "Sanctions and ultimatums should become part of history."

Belarus' ties with the United States have been tense since Washington imposed new sanctions against it last year. In March, Minsk recalled its ambassador to the United States and expelled the U.S. envoy to Belarus over the sanctions.

Lukashenko said he believed the Russian-Belarussian ties would maintain their continuity and would still be oriented toward the further development of the Union State with Russia under Dmitry Medvedev, who will soon take office as the new Russian president.

Relations with Russia should be viewed as an element in building a multipolar world order, the president said.


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