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9 Jun 2016

Makei: Belarus and EU have an opportunity to reset relations

MINSK, 9 June (BelTA) – Belarus and the European Union have a good opportunity to zero out mutual complaints and start constructive work from scratch, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said in an interview with the Russian news agency TASS, BelTA has learned.

“We are happy to see that the current EU leadership has realized the futility of the policy of putting pressure on Belarus. Today we have a good opportunity to zero out the list of mutual complaints and reset constructive, balanced and mutually respectful work on important joint projects beneficial to individual countries and the European region as a whole,” the minister said.

In his words, Belarus attaches particular importance to the development of cooperation with the EU. “The reasons for this are objective. They arise from the structure of Belarus’ external trade. Russia and the EU account for almost equal shares in it. We may also recall the investment statistics. In 2015, Russia accounted for approximately 43% of the total foreign investment in Belarus, the EU and Switzerland for 49%. Not every country has such a balanced structure of foreign economic cooperation,” Vladimir Makei pointed out.

He added that Belarus is actively promoting the ‘integration of integrations’ initiative that envisages a gradual rapprochement of the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). “We believe that its implementation will open up new opportunities for the development of a mutually beneficial dialogue and create real prospects for the establishment of additional links between the East and the West, the North and the South,” Vladimir Makei stressed.

“Belarus’ transit potential contributes a lot to the regional and global economic processes. Our logistics capacity transforms Belarus into a key transport hub on the border between the EU and the EEU. We expect that once the Silk Road project is implemented, our role will become even more prominent. Both our Eastern and Western neighbors show interest in this project,” the minister explained.

Vladimir Makei emphasized that Belarus has no need to prove that it has always been a reliable partner for all its neighbors, including the European Union. “We are honestly doing a colossal work to ensure that drugs, arms and illegal migrants do not cross the EU border. We make a tangible contribution to maintaining stability in Central and Eastern Europe,” the minister said.

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