MINSK, August 13 (RIA Novosti) - Belarus has not recognized the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia because Russia refused to help it cope with the consequences of such a step, the Belarusian president said Friday.
The Belarusian Belta news agency said Alexander Lukashenko was asked by journalists to comment on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's accusation that Lukashenko had failed to deliver on a promise to recognize the countries' independence.
"I told him: it's not a problem for Belarus to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, even today it's not a problem. But I enumerated to him the problems that would arise for Belarus in its relations with the EU, the United States, the CIS etc.," Lukashenko said.
"We laid out these problems - there were about 15 of them," he said.
But, according to Lukashenko, when he asked whether Russia is ready to help Belarus overcome the problems if they arise, "Russia turned out to be incapable or the Russian leadership did not want to level and deal with the consequences that could arise for Belarus."
"If Russia took steps to meet [Belarus] halfway, the situation would probably be different," he said.
Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which both split from Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, two weeks after the end of a five-day war with Georgia in August 2008.
The move was heavily criticized by Western powers. So far, only Venezuela, Nicaragua and the tiny island nation of Nauru have followed suit.