President Alexander Lukashenko received the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Armenia at the Palace of Independence on March 28. The ambassador is completing his tenure in Belarus. Armen Khachatryan has worked here since 2010.
The President noted the friendly nature of the relationship at the highest political level, mutual interest in developing cooperation and convergence of positions on international issues.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
You should know that Armenians have never strangers to us. We like two states occupy completely identical positions on all the issues on the international agenda. We completely understand the policy pursued by the current leadership of Armenia and the former leadership. We have always been in brilliant relations with the leaders of Armenia, whatever the views on the world order. We expressed our position, our point of view. There are critical questions. For instance Nagorno-Karabakh. I want to tell you: this is not our issue, it's not my question. We have nothing to do there. There are parties to the conflict, which must sort it all out. But whenever I am asked about my position on this issue, I always say one thing only: people deserve to live in dignity. Then I say that I do not believe that today people live well and with dignity in Nagorno-Karabakh. Every day they feel that their life might end today.
Therefore, our position is unequivocal: Armenia and Azerbaijan without any intermediaries, must sit at the negotiating table and solve the problem. But the main thing is people. It is impossible to play this card in politics when people live in poverty and die. Here is our unswerving position on all disputed points in the world. Be it Ukraine or Nagorno-Karabakh or Transnistria and so on. It is necessary that people live well. What is good in Ukraine if people die from explosions or bullets flying from both sides? What can you say? I want you, as our close friend of mine, to know my position.
I hate intermediaries, I hate peacekeepers. Because since I began President, they have always come here: some peacekeepers, mediators, from the European Union or from somewhere else. We do not need intermediaries to deal with the European Union and with other countries and so on.
Today it is even said that mediators are required between Putin and Lukashenko. Calm down, we have brilliant relations with Mr Putin. Brilliant. When we choose time, we will meet.
If there are any problems, we will solve them. Without intermediaries, we will decide together, and we do not need any mediation. We are brothers, we have nothing to divide. So I never tolerated mediation. If one has a problem, it must be solved. Two parties meet. If you want to solve this problem, it should be solved. Any problems.
The Belarus President also spoke about the detention in Minsk and subsequent extradition of the blogger Aleksander Lapshin. He got on the international wanted list after visiting Nagorno-Karabakh and thus a violating the law of Azerbaijan "On the State Border". He was arrested in December 2016 at the request of Azerbaijan.
Armenia did not tell me anything about Lapshin. He was wanted by one country - Azerbaijan. When he was detained here, I asked myself why we had done that. Let him go anywhere. We did not want problems with anyone. But we detained him. Interpol knew that. We informed them as a law-abiding state. Whom were we to hand him to? To the country that wanted him. Moreover, I want to tell you for the first time publicly that no one wanted to take him at first. Only then did they begin to play this card. He is a citizen of three countries - none of the countries wanted to take him. We did not want problems. Therefore, any matter has certain undertones and this question will be presented by different countries in different ways. But you should know this. Therefore, you should know the most important thing: we were close peoples and we will remain such.
Alexander Lukashenko thanked Armen Khachatryan for his significant contribution to the development of relations between Belarus and Armenia.
With regard to economic indicators, in 2016, the trade turnover between the countries exceeded $32 million. The beginning of 2017 shows some positive trends too. The growth is about 30% as compared to the same period of 2016.