Belarus will maintain close ties with the Vatican, Alexander Lukashenko says

Belarus will maintain close ties with the Vatican, Alexander Lukashenko says

Belarus will maintain close ties with the Vatican, said President Alexander Lukashenko meeting with Apostolic Nuncio Claudio Gugerotti, who is completing his diplomatic mission in our country. The conversation took place in a very friendly atmosphere. The head of state thanked the Nuncio for the sincere attitude to Belarus and the establishment of close contacts with the Vatican.

Belarus has always treated all religions with equal respect. This helps maintain stability and peace in the Belarusian society. The President stressed that Belarus will stick to this position in the future. Alexander Lukashenko did not rule out the possibility of meeting with Pope Francis.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
Your mission has been honest, open, in principle, sometimes not even the diplomatic but more universal and humane. You approached some issues of relations of Belarus with the Vatican and with other states on the basis of the interests of Belarus and our people. And for that I am particularly grateful to you.
If someone out there thinks that Lukashenko is changing his position with regard to Catholics, the Catholic Church and the Vatican, this is absolutely not the case. This is complete nonsense, we do not change, we have not been cozying up to either Catholics or the Orthodox. We have been conducting an honest and sincere policy. Part of our citizens are Catholics, these are religious people. These are principled people, and I respect their position. 
We are not against churches, mosques or any religions. Each person must decide which way and to what temple to go. I have stuck to this position for twenty years and it will not change. Here we have a common humane approach, you understand it, you have always supported us in this respect. We have done a lot to establish good relations, and in the long term, I think we will do everything to ensure that my meeting with the Pope takes place at the highest level. I respect him very much. I get information from the media about his travels and statements. I like his position, his respect for the poorest people, his stance on fight against corruption, fairness and justice. I am glad that today Catholics have such a leader. Our Catholics, just to let you know, are no strangers to us. If religion serves peace, stability and order in the country, we will only support such a religion.

Claudio Gugerotti, Apostolic Nuncio of Belarus:
I am honored to meet you, and this is not the first time we have met. We always spoke very frankly. I very much like it. I'm sad, I tell you this frankly, because I was living very well here. I hope I was able to give a little bit of warmth and show that the Catholic Church and the Pope have great respect for the people of Belarus. 

The Pope appointed Claudio Gugerotti Vatican ambassador in Belarus in 2011. The name of the new apostolic nuncio is currently unknown.