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Lukashenko Tells Govt to Stop Looking to Russia For Support

MINSK. May 29 (Interfax) - The Belarusian government stop asking Russia for support and try to build trade and economic cooperation in other areas, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko demanded.

"I am personally warning you, (Belarusian Prime Minister) Sergei Sergeyevich (Sidorsky) and (Belarusian National Bank chief Pyotr) Prokopovich. Once people came and told me how bad things are regarding Russia and that there is no progress there (economic relations with Russia) and asking me to raise the question with the Russian president and Putin about them not listening to us," Lukashenko said at a meeting addressing the socio-economic development of Belarus held in Minsk on Friday.

"This time has ended today, now it is a different time. If we cannot (work) with Russia, we should not bow, wine and cry, we should look for happiness in another part of the planet. I am deliberately saying this in public," Lukashenko said.

"We saw a very interesting thing yesterday, when the (Belarusian) President (Alexander Lukashenko) was sitting down with (Russian Prime Minister) Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin having a friendly discussion on personal, private, and state issues. And that that same time (Russian Finance Minister Alexei) Kudrin gave a press conference before the meeting of the Union's Council of Ministers, the purpose of which was to cause panic in Belarus," said Lukashenko.

On Thursday, Kudrin voiced an opinion that Russia may be faced with the insolvency of the Belarusian government and the Belarusian economy in general due to the insufficiency of its gold and currency reserves at the end of 2009 or in a year's time.

"It is time to stop using the usual paths, Sergei Sergeyevich (Sidorsky). We need to go to other places, where people do not know us, where people are waiting for us, and sell ten tractors, one combine, a tea spoonful of sugar," Lukashenko said sarcastically.

"It is not about Ossetia and Abkhazia. Finally, the recognition of Ossetia and Abkhazia is not a Russian issue. It is an issue between us and those states, with which we have excellent contacts, and which know our tactics," Lukashenko said.

"I answered that question (about the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia) a long time ago, and no one in the East and the West is allowed to press us on this issue. We are an independent country and we will do everything that is in our interests," Lukashenko said.

"Let's build our economy and politics as a sovereign country. We leverage of influence on this situation, to the challenges we are being faced with, including in Russia," Lukashenko said.