Overcoming the negative trends in the economy, steady rate of development, the growing authority of Belarus in the international arena and the need to maintain a balanced foreign policy were the topics about which the President of Belarus spoke on October 7 addressing MPs from both chambers of the Belarusian parliament.
At this moment the joint meeting of both chambers of the Belarusian parliament of the fifth and sixth convocations continues in the Oval Hall of the Government House. The format is unique. In fact, today the former parliamentarians hand over mandates to new MPs. In the sixth convocation of the House of Representatives includes 110 deputies. Of these, 28 have retained their seats from the previous convocation.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Experience and knowledge of adult and younger people who came to the Parliament are of primary importance.
If we, as we are recommended by the West, who is not doing it themselves, if we remove the entire parliament and let new members come here, where will continuity be? We will thus destroy the experience of the previous parliament, of the fifth convocation. Look to the West: no one is looking at the age there. And they come to us. Over 70 years, under 80... And it is normal. The main thing is that your head and legs serve you. We need brains. We need smart, creative people, regardless of age. Especially in the parliament. Parliament, I can tell you frankly since I worked in this Parliament many years, this is an assembly of sages. But in order for the wise men not to fall asleep, we also need young people. It should represent a layer of our society. Women cannot compete with us on an equal footing, because they give their free time to us, in the kitchen or looking after kids. Therefore, we need to support that small proportion. And I think in this case, neither the West nor the East, nor our internal different forces can say we are doing wrong by supporting women. Moreover, I always say that a woman is inherently a more stable person. She is afraid to touch "hot" things, she will never make a deal with her conscience, for which we, men, are always ready.
In his speech, Alexander Lukashenko touched on a lot of relevant topics in the country. One of them is the need for reform in the country. Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly voiced his position on the matter. According to the President, it is first of all the Belarusian people who must be ready for major changes.
I'm ready for any reforms.
Mr. Koziyatko, in his recent TV program, has emphasized that the President is ready for any reforms. The most radical. Even more decisive than required by the IMF. The question is: are you ready for them? I'm asking you, the people. Ask everyone whether he or she is ready for these reforms. I have recently asked the government. Everyone is saying: restructure, restructuring of the economy and so on. I ask clever people: tell me what you mean by structural reforms and changes in the economic structure? Everyone said different things. This indicates that they have just read it somewhere, heard it and brought it to the people.
Another issue was the foreign policy of Belarus. Alexander Lukashenko advocates a balanced position on this matter.
The world is slipping into an open "hot" confrontation. The situation is worse than during the Cold War. The right of the strong is dominant. We see hypocrisy and insincerity in international relations, especially between the geopolitical players. This is violation of international law under the alleged pretexts. All states are seeking to find their niche against this background. New regional, integrated structures are being created, which seek to protect themselves by high crash barriers, particularly in the economy. Naturally, such a turn of events that occurs in the world is also hitting Belarus. Under these conditions foreign policy has started to come to the fore.
I must admit that we often talk about multi-vector policy, but in reality we are still flying on one wing.
But life has shown that in times of crisis such a situation makes us too prone to the risk of being dependent on the leadership of political sentiments of the states concerned.
Our task is to make real positive balance in relations with all neighbors, all the leading geopolitical centers of power.
This is an incredibly difficult task. And we are not balancing, we are not sitting on two chairs. We have to pursue this policy, not to offend anyone, not to hurt anyone, to resist.
Speaking further about foreign policy, the President, of course, could not but raise the issue of cooperation with the main partners of our country. Alexander Lukashenko shared with parliamentarians impressions of the state visit to China and stressed that China sees in Belarus an equal partner. In the Oval Hall, the President also commented on the gas problem with Russia. He also noted that he sees cooperation with Russia on the principle of equality.
Recently journalists from Russia have come to us. We will not name them. They asked for work. Our experts started talking to them and asked why they treat Belarus in the way they do now. The answer was startling. I divulge it specifically: "We have instructions from the Administration of the President of Russia not to say anything good about Belarus, and if we do write anything about it, we must do it in a joking tone, if it is beneficial to Russia." Why do I say this? Do not blame me that we still have not adopted the Constitution of the Union State, as we agreed with Russia. We have no friends. Russians and Belarusians do not have friends. We were left alone. And I recently told Putin: we will have to stand back to back and defend ourselves. Parliamentarians also need to do it, to not just talk but fight for these ideas.