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6 Apr 2018

Belarusian foreign minister in favor of continued dialogue with European Union

MINSK, 6 April (BelTA) – It is necessary to continue the dialogue with the European Union in a bid to get closer to each other. Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei made the relevant statement in the latest interview with the Euronews TV channel, BelTA has learned.

Vladimir Makei said: “The European Union has a list of our expectations. In turn, we have a list of theirs. The most important thing right now is to continue the dialogue in a bid to get closer to each other.”

In his words, Belarus would like to continue working with the European Union on signing the agreements on facilitating visa regulations, on readmission, and on priorities in partnership within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Initiative till 2020. “It is very important for us,” noted the Belarusian minister of foreign affairs.

Vladimir Makei said: “In the near future we would like to sign a framework agreement between Belarus and the European Union to make the legal foundation for our cooperation. Such an agreement must be signed sooner or later.”

“We are genuinely interested in good and tight cooperation with the European Union because we understand that it will help us survive in an unstable situation and get closer to European values, to the European understanding of democracy,” stressed the official.

Vladimir Makei also answered questions concerning the possibility of the abolition of capital punishment and the reformation of the election laws.

“Many facts confirm we have secured certain progress. Abolishing capital punishment is a very sensitive issue for us. During the referendum held in 1996 as many as 82% of the citizens voted against abolishing capital punishment,” said Vladimir Makei. “A working group has been set up by the parliament now to look into the possibility. It has done a lot of work. A number of events have been arranged to change the public opinion, the attitude of the civil society towards the abolition of capital punishment.”

Vladimir Makei reminded about the statement made by the Belarus president during an OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session in 2017. Back then Alexander Lukashenko stated that Belarus would come to resolve the problem sooner or later. “Meanwhile, it is necessary to work with the society to change the public opinion on capital punishment and study the positive experience of European countries. I don’t think we will manage to achieve the goal within a short time period but we are gradually getting closer to it. It is very important to continue this work,” believes the Belarusian minister of foreign affairs.

Speaking about the reform of Belarusian election laws, Vladimir Makei noted that Belarus had taken into account many OSCE ODIHR recommendations while some recommendations were still being discussed. “We are not rejecting them and are ready to work on these recommendations. But let’s look at the situation in a broader context. We are thinking about amending the Constitution today. The situation in Belarus and around it has changed. Many new circumstances, conditions, and challenges have emerged. We should take them into account,” pointed out Vladimir Makei.

In his words, first of all, the number includes matters of stability and security: the crisis in Ukraine, mutual sanctions and embargoes between Russia and the European Union. “As far as economy is concerned, we see events verging on economic wars. Recalling the latest clashes within the framework of the Trans-Atlantic Partnership will suffice… Challenges are aplenty and we should keep them in mind, too. This is why we are considering improving some provisions of the Constitution. These changes will inevitably lead to the transformation of legislation in the economic sphere, electoral sphere, and other areas,” concluded the Belarusian minister of foreign affairs.

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