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Lukashenko urges U.S. to avoid sanctions

April 23, 2009 at 3:42 PM   |   Comments

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MINSK, Belarus, April 23 (UPI) -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Thursday the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama should avoid using the threat of sanctions.

As part of his annual address to the Belarusian people, Lukashenko said the new U.S. administration would be well served to avoid taking on a "position of force" when dealing with his country, RIA Novosti said.

"I have repeatedly noted the importance of relations with the U.S. and hope that the new U.S. administration will realize the hopelessness of dialogue with us from the position of force and in the language of sanctions," Lukashenko said.

"We have always said that we are interested in normalizing political relations with the U.S. and believe it is mutually beneficial to fully restore the level of trade-economic interaction, which prior to the imposition of sanctions neared $1 billion," he added.

The U.S. government has imposed sanctions against the state-owned chemical company Belneftekhim and has frozen the assets of certain Belarusian officials like Lukashenko.

The U.S. actions in 2006 came amid allegations of human rights abuses against Belarusian officials, RIA Novosti said.

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