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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that it is possible to build relations with both Israel and Arab states, as well as Iran.

“We’re not befriending Arabs against the Jews or Jews against the Arabs,” Lukashenko told an Israeli reporter Monday after a memorial service for the liquidation of the ghetto in Minsk.

Belarus has long maintained close trade ties to nations with poor relations with the West, including Iran and Venezuela.

“We understand each other, we have neither reservations nor problems in bilateral relations,” Lukashenko said of the relationship with Iran earlier this year.

Trade between the two nations reached $80 million in 2007, according to statistics from the Belarusian government, and Lukashenko has voiced his support for Iran’s right to nuclear power.

“The Jews are a clever nation and the Iranians are not fools,” Lukashenko said this week. “There needs to be a policy to sit across from each other and discuss the issues” and to “look each other in the eye.”

On Wednesday in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, 100 Belarusians and 50 Germans took part in a seminar on Holocaust studies. The seminar was a follow-up to the weekend’s remembrance of the liquidation of the Minsk ghetto, according to

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