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FM Makei: I want Belarus to become Switzerland of Eastern Europe

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Uladzimir Makei/ Euroradio​

Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei wants Belarus to become the Switzerland of Eastern Europe. He said this in an interview with Germany's largest daily newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung when asked what the minister would have wished for if he could.

In the interview, Makei spoke about the delicate and very sensitive situation of Belarus "in-between two major geopolitical players". "We would like to maintain a balanced relationship with everyone," said the Minister of Foreign Affairs. At the same time, he recalled the fraternal relations with Russia, which Belarus is willing to strengthen. "But this does not mean that we should look only at Russia," said Uladzimir Makei. "...We would like to diversify our relations and consider the European Union as the second most important economic partner," he said.

Makei stressed that the situation in Ukraine is a "negative example" for Belarus. We do not want to repeat the mistakes of Ukraine," the minister said. "And we want to take into account all the dangers on the way to closer cooperation with the EU". According to him, the caution of the Belarusian authorities lies in the mentality of the Belarusians. At the same time, "the interest of the Belarusians to learn more about Europe is huge".

"We want to be a country that promotes stability, not turbulence," said the head of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.

Uladzimir Makei also spoke about the human rights situation. He stressed that while the EU is more concerned about individual rights, Belarus focuses on social rights. "We have an old Soviet way of thinking about what is most important," said the Minister.

In an interview, Makei also said that the authorities of our country are not giving up the idea of the death penalty abolition in the future. There was also a question about Belarus' rapprochement with China.

Makei recalled the problems that had come up due to the EU sanctions, as well as the problems with Russia due to "gas, oil and sugar" issues. Therefore, the leadership of Belarus decided to look for another strategic partner," said the Minister of Foreign Affairs. "The one that does not set any political conditions".

According to Uladzimir Makei, the Belarusian leadership is not afraid to become dependent on China, as the balance of relations is preserved.