Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said to Belarussian diplomats in Minsk on Thursday that Russia remains Belarus's main foreign policy partner.
"Recently, serious changes took place in Russian society, economy, and politics, but Russia remains our main integration partner," he said.
Lukashenko noted that Russia today is seeking to accentuate its presence in the political, economic and military spheres in the CIS countries.
In his opinion, the level of practical integration between Belarus and Russia is fairly high. "Russia is Belarus's trade partner number one, and the potential of trade and economic relations has been exhausted," Lukashenko said. Belarus should work much faster to meet Russia's growing demands, he added.
The president pointed out that Belarus is trying to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. Our desire to avoid energy and raw material dependence on Russia should not be taken primitively, as an attempt to distance ourselves from Russia. "We should have a common national economic complex with Russia," said Lukashenko. He added that Belarus was going to look for alternative energy sources, otherwise "the Belarussian economy will depend on the situation in the Russian economy, and not us, Belarus's independence will remain only on paper."
Alexander Lukashenko believes that it is early to review the entire policy of integration with Russia. He said the sides had agreed to take a timeout in the disputable areas such as the Constitutional Act and currency, and continue working over practical and topical issues for people and the two countries' economic development."
In his opinion, the solution of these complex issues requires a suitable moment and political will. "Such an opportunity will arise, and as politicians, we should seize it and adopt decisions on complex issues. But it is hard to say when the moment will come," said Lukashenko.
He deems it optimal that the current integration processes between the two countries are developing on a natural and pragmatic basis.