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Belarussian President Describes Policy in Relation to Iraq - 22 March, 2003

During his visit to the memorial complex of Khatyn, Belarussian President Aleksander Lukashenko described the policy of the leaders of Georgia, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan in relation to the Iraqi problem and their support of US actions as short-sighted.

The Belarussian President opined that the heads of those states "had better keep silent at all." The Belarussian leader was confident that 98% of the Georgian, Uzbek and Azerbaijani population were against the war in Iraq. Aleksander Lukashenko stated that "one should take into account interests of the people and not pursue other objectives." According to him, it is common knowledge what objectives the heads of those states were presently pursuing. Aleksander Lukashenko stated that "they would like to have no problems in the future and rely on US support." He stressed that "certain states were waging a self-centered policy by declaring the way Iraq would be rehabilitated after the war, who would exercise influence, who would sit on oil wells" and added that Belarus refused such a policy.

Lukashenko stated that he "would not like to talk about the benefits or drawbacks for Belarus in connection with the Iraqi war." He pointed out that Belarus had established good relations not only with Iraq but also with the whole Arab world.

In reply to a question of the RIA Novosti correspondent, Lukashenko stated that Belarus was prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Lukashenko stated that the country was "prepared to immediately provide assistance in healthcare and other spheres." In connection with that he stated that the Belarussian side was expecting an appropriate request from the Iraqi government.

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