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Russian President Speaks on Byelorussian Bargaining2009-11-24 20:50
Yesterday Dmitry Medvedev told Byelorussian journalists that Russia is not pressing Bielorussia regarding the issue of recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The fact that his Minsk colleague is periodically returning to this subject is just an element of bargaining for foreign aid. No one knows if anybody believed it in Bielorussia, but the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs surely did not. Meanwhile this week Byelorussian parliamentarians promised to present a report on the results of their visits to Tbilisi, Sukhumi and Tskhinvali.
The Russian president gave a special press conference for Byelorussian journalists. The relations between the two countries building an allied state are facing harder times. According to the Reuters agency, the stumbling block is the issue of recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Byelorussian president Alexander Lukashenko has just assured Lithuanian journalists that he has no conflict with Moscow and remains its close partner. But at the same time, as well as before the interview and afterwards, he publicly expressed his indignation that Russians (especially journalists) do not let Minsk make an unprejudiced choice, «are pressing», willing to speed up the process of recognizing the two ex Georgian republics. It is the turn of the Russian president to cast some light on the issues of bilateral relations.
Medvedev said that all the talk on «pressure» regarding the recognizing is «cooked up». «Neither in public nor during our private meetings I have ever asked the Byelorussian leader or any other Byelorussian official to recognize Abkhazia or South Ossetia, either directly or indirectly», he stressed. And he added that it all looks like «bargaining who will help more: we will favour those who will do better».
GeorgiaTimes has already written that Bielorussia takes advantage of the moment squeezing maximum preferences from the West and from Russia (in the form of credits, trade rules, abolition of visa sanctions), speculating on the recognition subject. And, if Europeans have been giving Minsk certain unequivocal notices running that such recognition will worsen the relations between Bielorussia and the European Union, Moscow has tried to be most cautious lately.
The Russian authorities are afraid to press Lukashenko not to accelerate the drift of their only close ally towards Europe, believes the Director of the Byelorussian Department of the Institute of CIS and Baltic Countries Alexander Fadeev. In his words, now it is much more important for Moscow to preserve its friendship with Minsk than to achieve the recognition of the two republics.