While commenting on the presidential elections in France, Vladimir Shikh, the Director of the Department of Europe of the Foreign Ministry of Belarus, said France should become more open to cooperating with Belarus, adding, 'France can hardly any longer explain her position toward Belarus solely by European solidarity'. Mr. Shikh also said Belorussian Foreign Ministry had closely watched the ongoing events in France. Minsk acknowledges the convincing victory of Jacques Chirac over Jean-Marie Le Pen yet believes the situation in France is somewhat ambiguous while the forces standing primarily for the country's national interests are in the process of consolidating. The Belorussian diplomat did not specify what exactly were the changes in France's foreign policies Belarus expected. Local observers believe these expectations have to do with the softening of the economic blockade of Belarus by at least one leading European country.