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    Incumbent Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks during a news conference after preliminary election results show him overwhelmingly winning a fourth term in Minsk, Berlarus, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010

    Lukashenko Convinced Russia, Belarus Can Resolve Problems in Bilateral Relations

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    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stated that Moscow and Minsk are able to resolve problems in the bilateral relations between Russia and Belarus.

    ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) — Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Monday he was convinced Moscow and Minsk were able to iron out difficulties in the countries’ bilateral relations.

    He was speaking at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, which was marred by a blast at a metro station there. Conflicting reports suggest up to two explosions injured dozens of commuters, with several feared dead.

    "These problems are nothing in light of such events [explosions]," Lukashenko said after offering condolences to Putin and those affected. "We can resolve such problems quickly and efficiently."

    He referred to differences that had strained relations between the two neighbor countries. Russia and Belarus have been at loggerheads over the price of Russian gas deliveries to its Eastern European neighbor and its outstanding debt to Moscow, which Minsk refuses to recognize. In turn, Russia threatened to lower the duty-free oil supplies to Belarus.

    In February, Russia’s agricultural watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, also imposed temporary curbs on certain Belarusian food imports citing their poor sanitary condition and alleged re-export from Ukraine and EU countries that were subject to the 2014 restrictions.

    The Belarusian president threatened Rosselkhoznadzor chief Sergey Dankvert with a criminal probe for allegedly hindering Belarusian exports to Russia. The Belarusian Interior Ministry said a few days later it had opened an initial inquiry into several officials at the Russian agricultural agency.

    The Kremlin said it was surprised at Minsk’s decision and argued the curbs on Belarusian foodstuff are in line with international trade rules. Rosselkhoznadzor said its restrictions were lawful.


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