Belarus seeks better ties with West, but won't estrange Russia: president

2013-04-19 20:23:03 GMT2013-04-20 04:23:03(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MINSK, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said here on Friday that his country wants to have "a good, normal relationship" with the West, but will never turn its back on traditional ally Russia.

"Once again I want to say it ... for the EU (European Union), the United States and others: when negotiating with you, we will never proceed from the position whether we are with you or with Russia. There is no such choice for us and cannot be," said Lukashenko in an address to the parliament and the public.

He said that Minsk wants to normalize its relations with the West, but will not yield to any external pressure.

"Do not try to smother us. You have realized that the sanctions are counterproductive," said the president, adding that Belarus can play the role of a bridge linking the West and the East.

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