Negotiations on a loan of about 100 billion rubles Russia plans to issue to Belarus have nothing to do with the Belarusian authorities' recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told the EuroNews television channel on Thursday.
"We have our own position on this matter. We do not allow any pressure either from Europe or from Russia," Lukashenko said. "We have our own parliament, which will debate this issue and put forth proposals in compliance with our laws. We ourselves will solve this problem [whether or not to recognize the republics' independence]. It has nothing to do with the loan," the president said. "We are proud of our good relations with the Russians. And we are also building relations with Europe. We will play our role as a bridge between the East and the West," he said.