Lukashenko Demands Diversification of Foreign Economic Activity
OREANDA-NEWS. July 01, 2010. President Alexander Lukashenko demands that the Government take resolute action to diversify the nation’s foreign economic activity, in particular in relation to the import of energy resources. The Head of State made this statement during meeting with senior government officials, which central theme was diversification of Belarus’s foreign economic activity and co-operation with Venezuela, Russia and Ukraine.
Opening the meeting, the President drew the attention of the attendees to how the situation around Belarus had been developing over the previous months and years. "You see the position our eastern neighbour has taken, as well as the position our western neighbour, the EU, has taken," said Alexander Lukashenko. "It is obvious that the Belarusian people will have to prove by their intellect, their wits and, God forbid, their force the need and possibility for them to live on this land as a rightful nation."
"Knowing this, several years ago we tried to find an alternative to Russian energy resources and went to Latin America, Africa, Iran – to the markets where hydrocarbon resources were in abundance. We started to produce oil in Venezuela and Iran. Moreover, we are now receiving oil from Venezuela and process it quite successfully at our oil refineries," said the President. "Today the objective is to ensure reliable deliveries of oil to Belarus from different world markets by using different routes. We must not repeat the mistake we made in the relations with Russia. Delivering oil from other markets using one route only is as dangerous as being dependent on one state in the deliveries of hydrocarbon resources."
During Alexander Lukashenko’s recent meeting with the Prime Minister of Lithuania it has been reaffirmed that Gazprom is selling natural gas at a price which is much higher than today’s gas price in Europe. "Certainly nobody in Europe will buy such gas, and it will be very difficult for Gazprom to keep the price level unchanged, but it is their problem, their commodity. At the end of the day, we can argue, we can agree or disagree, but we must always have an alternative," said the Head of State.
At the same time, the President emphasized that Belarus had no plans to wage any economic war against Russia. "Russia is our long-term partner. We speak one language, we share one mentality, and we are one people. If Russia’s top officials have taken this position today, they probably have reasons for that, and we criticize them for that, but we should step in their shoes just as they should step into ours when they see us looking for alternatives to natural gas and oil – the things in which they try to get us toe the line," said Alexander Lukashenko. "Therefore there will be no war.
This is our traditional market; we have been buying energy resources there and will continue to do that. Nobody can replace Russia 100 per cent for us in this respect. But our country should gradually increase the import of energy from other sources." The Head of State added, "Therefore saying that it is done to spite Russia, done against Russia is unintelligent, stupid and generally will not be understood and accepted by your society. We cannot depend on one state only, one centre of supplies, be it energy resources, raw materials or assembly parts and units. We need ‘two wings to fly’, as the Belarusian saying goes," said the President.