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13 Dec 2013

Belarus eager to embark on agreement on easing visa regulations with EU

MINSK, 13 December (BelTA) – Belarus will not delay work on the agreement on easing visa regulations with the European Union, Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Yelena Kupchina told reporters on 13 December, BelTA has learnt.

“Belarus’ negotiating position is being reconciled now. I do not think that we will delay the process,” Yelena Kupchina said.

BelTA reported earlier that Belarus’ Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei confirmed Belarus’ sincere interest in promoting an open dialogue, mutually beneficial cooperation and true partnership with the European Union as he spoke at the plenary session of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013. The Foreign Minister emphasized the importance of addressing the issues that concern ordinary citizens. He officially declared Belarus’ readiness to engage on talks with the EU to conclude agreements on simplifying visa formalities and readmission regulations.

Speaking with reporters following the summit, the Foreign Minister noted that the matter can be dealt with pretty fast provided both parties are interested. “If there is a will to address the matter in a constructive way, this will take little time, if not, it will take more time. I believe that we will be able to sign the agreement pretty soon. I would like to reiterate that we are ready for such an approach and believe that our relations with the European Union should be based on a dialogue and a constructive approach,” he said.

Vladimir Makei reminded that in 2004 Belarus invited the EU to embark on talks to simplify visa formalities. “The EU kept rejecting the idea until 2011, however, after the sanctions were imposed (by the EU against Belarus – BelTA’s note), the EU suddenly agreed to engage in talks. Of course, we could not do it in those circumstances. The matter was suspended up until now,” the Foreign Minister noted.

He believes that it is high time to consider a possibility to embark on talks with the EU to discuss visa formalities. “This is the instruction of our President who proceeded from the interests of each and every person,” Vladimir Makei added as he answered journalists’ questions in Vilnius.

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