VILNIUS, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said his country is diversifying its economy to make it less dependent on Russia.
Addressing an international economic forum in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, Lukashenko said that in recent years, the European Union has emerged as the main importer of Belarusian goods, leaving Russia behind.
The president arrived in Vilnius on Wednesday for the first time in 12 years to meet with his Lithuanian counterpart, Dalia Grybauskaite, and attend a bilateral economic forum on new opportunities for cooperation between the two post-Soviet countries, as well as visit the Belarus Expo 2009 exhibition.
He said the changes in economic relations with Russia are part of a policy of diversification.
"To reiterate, we did this purposely, so as to move away from dependence on just one country, even one that is near and dear to us," Lukashenko said.
However, he said there remain several constraints to Belarusian exports to the EU, including a restrictive trade regime.
He earlier urged all members of the European Union to work towards "a Europe without borders."
Belarus and the European Union have recently moved to rebuild ties. The EU lifted a travel ban on Lukashenko and invited Belarus to attend an Eastern Partnership summit earlier this year along with five other ex-Soviet states, offering closer economic and political ties in exchange for commitment to democracy.