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Opinions & Interviews

6 Apr 2018

Accomplishments in Belarus-EU relations without sanctions emphasized

Accomplishments in Belarus-EU relations without sanctions emphasized

MINSK, 6 April (BelTA) – Over the last two years Belarus and the European Union have accomplished a great deal in advancing their relations. Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei made the relevant statement in a recent interview with the Euronews TV channel, BelTA has learned.

Vladimir Makei said: “I think we’ve accomplished a great deal in the last two years. In the two years we’ve accomplished much more in relations with the European Union than in the preceding 20 years of sanctions, mistrust, and the so-called loudspeaker diplomacy.”

Vladimir Makei mentioned the establishment of the Belarus-European Union coordinating group, which represents a good platform for discussing any matters of importance for cooperation. The implementation of new joint programs with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) has begun. The European Union has doubled the aid to Belarus within the framework of various programs. “There are a lot of positive moments, yet we certainly understand that there is a number of sensitive issues for the European Union and we should work on them,” said Vladimir Makei.

As far as sanctions are concerned, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said he believes that things are changing for the better albeit slowly. Most of the restrictive measures were scrapped in 2016. “Only several sanctions still remain on the bilateral agenda. The embargo on arms trade is the top one. We are talking about trade in specific military hardware, not about export as a whole. It is important. The thing is we would like to maintain normal relations with the European Union, primarily trade and economic ones. We are interested in economic cooperation with the European Union,” stressed Vladimir Makei.

In his words, such cooperation allows Belarus to bolster its economy, preserve and reinforce political independence. “This is why we are extremely interested in normal trade and economic interaction with the European Union. I think we are slowly moving towards lifting all the sanctions. I hope it will happen in the near future,” said Vladimir Makei.

The Belarusian minister of foreign affairs mentioned that both sides — the European Union and Belarus — are obviously interested in advancing the dialogue for the sake of achieving success in Belarus and the region. “We understand the sensitivity of some domestic policy issues in Belarus for the European Union and we are discussing these matters with the European Union. But sometimes it is impossible to achieve success right away. European partners understand it and we continue the dialogue in various spheres in order to secure constant progress in our relations, in order to make the process irreversible,” added the official.

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