Speaking at a news conference following Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's May 21-22 official visit to the ex-Soviet nation, Alexander Lukashenko said: "We are satisfied with the results of the talks and the agreements reached... Iran is ready to help Belarus diversify its energy supplies."
Ahmadinejad agreed Monday to allow Belarus to develop its Jofeir oil and gas deposit. Minsk is also looking to refine oil in Iran, send crude home, or sell it to regional states. It would be the first energy project abroad for Belarus, which has so far unsuccessfully sought a part in oil production in Russia and Venezuela in a bid to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies.
"Energy dependence on one country is a huge problem for us. We have spoken openly about it," Lukashenko said Tuesday.
Ahmadinejad, who earlier called Lukashenko "one of my best friends," praised their mutual resolve with Belarus to back each other in international affairs.
"We have agreed to pursue a policy of solidarity on the international arena," he said. "The big powers that are trying to impose their hegemony will have to succumb to the strong will of our nations."
Lukashenko, famously dubbed "Europe's last dictator" for his crackdown on democracy and human rights and denied the right to travel to the U.S. and the EU, assured that Belarus "will do everything it can for Iran for the understanding it has displayed for the Belarusians."
Iran, already under UN diplomatic and economic restrictions over its defiance of international demands to halt its controversial nuclear programs, faces a third round of sanctions as the Security Council gathers Wednesday to hear a report on progress in its nuclear activities.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Dog-Friendly Hotels, Lone Weasels and Other Animal News
Infographics: First Russian Smartphone
Iran has been a central Russian ally in the Middle East, despite considerable tensions between the two. But by renewing dialogue with the West, the new Iranian leadership has chosen another direction. The shifting terrain in the region creates new strategic, political and economic challenges for Russia.