Byelorussia to enhance cooperation with Russia and CIS
 
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Byelorussian President Alexander Lukashenko said his country will strengthen economic and military cooperation with Russia and enhance integration with other CIS countries as NATO is moving towards the Byelorussian border. Lukashenko, who is in Germany on a one-day working visit, told journalists after touring an international industrial fair in Hanover, Lower Saxony, on Wednesday that "the development of partnership with Russia is an indisputable foreign economic priority of the republic." "Russia in the East and Germany in the West are the countries to which Byelorussia's economic cooperation is directed," he said. He said Byelorussia wants to use its location as a hub between the east and the west of Europe. "We would like to have a very high level of relations with Moscow and Bonn, although our cooperation with Russia is not free of problems, including in the creation of the Customs Union, our two peoples are bound by close historical ties and seek to live in friendship and partnership," he said. On relations between Germany and Byelorussia, Lukashenko said that "the government of Germany makes cooperation conditional on the international political situation in the republic, and very often there is a policy of double standards behind this." "Germany has not yet ratified the agreement on partnership and cooperation concluded between Byelorussia and the European Union in 1996. If we cannot develop political cooperation, we will focus on economic and trade ties, especially since leading German businesses show considerable interest in Byelorussia," he said. During his private visit at the invitation of German entrepreneurs, Lukashenko had talks with the leaders of Siemens, Continental and MAN. "We signed several agreements of intent with the German companies with a focus on creating joint ventures in Byelorussia. In addition, the question of economic cooperation at the level of private businesses was in the centre of attention at the meeting with Lower Saxon ... Read more
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