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Opinions & Interviews

24 Nov 2017

Belarus views European Union as pillar of world order

Belarus views European Union as pillar of world order

MINSK, 24 November (BelTA) – The European Union should remain one of the key pillars of the world order. The press service of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei as saying during the Eastern Partnership Initiative summit in Brussels on 24 November, BelTA has learned.

The state and prospects of implementing the Eastern Partnership Initiative taking into account the current situation in the region and common challenges facing the European Union and eastern partners were discussed during the summit. “In his speech during the plenary session of the summit Vladimir Makei underlined Belarus’ interest in a strong European Union, which should remain one of the key pillars of the world order,” said the source. “The head of the Belarusian delegation called for directing the Eastern Partnership Initiative towards rapprochement instead of dividing the region into groups of countries with different ambitions regarding their relations with the European Union. The Belarusian minister of foreign affairs invited European partners to actively seek ways to overcome antagonism between the East and the West in the region primarily by establishing pragmatic cooperation between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, which can be done by experts at the initial level.”

Vladimir Makei mentioned the importance of signing a new basic agreement between the European Union and Armenia as a full-fledged member of the Eurasian Economic Union. Such an agreement could provide additional levers for bringing the two integration associations closer to each other.

Vladimir Makei stressed that since the current rules of the game have been unable to prevent a crisis of trust in the European continent, it is time to think about a new dialogue, new trust-building measures, which will prevent the resumption of the Cold War.

Speaking about practical cooperation within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Initiative Vladimir Makei mentioned the importance of building regional interaction in the spheres of transport, power engineering, and compatibility by financing infrastructure projects, which would contribute to higher solidarity and wellbeing of all the Eastern Partnership Initiative countries.

The Belarusian side underlined the importance of effectively coupling the trans-European transport network and China’s Belt and Road initiative with a view to fully exploring the transit potential of the region and enabling sustainable economic growth.

The head of the Belarusian delegation called for more effort to advance cooperation aimed at closer ties between citizens of the European Union member states and the Eastern Partnership Initiative participating states via culture and interpersonal contacts. First of all, it is necessary to raise the awareness of residents of the European Union about the historical legacy, economic and tourism potential of the Eastern Partnership Initiative countries, their constructive interaction with the European Union on topical problems.

Vladimir Makei also underlined the counterproductive nature of individual biased and unfaithful statements about the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. He dismantled speculations about Belarus’ alleged failures to observe nuclear safety standards in building the nuclear power plant. Vladimir Makei underlined the transparent and voluntary nature of Belarus’ cooperation with the European Union in nuclear safety matters, including the stress testing of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. As the country most affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster Belarus is most interested in making its own nuclear power plant as safe as possible.

Vladimir Makei drew attention to Belarus’ absolute transparency in the course of the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017, which, despite speculations, had followed a defensive scenario. Vladimir Makei noted that all the participating forces had returned to their permanent stations after the exercise.

As part of the summit a high-level agreement was signed on expanding the trans-European transport network. The document lays down the foundation for tapping into the European Union’s resources for the sake of implementing major infrastructure projects to modernize the main international transport corridors, which cross Belarus.

A joint declaration was signed as a result of the Eastern Partnership Initiative summit. It stipulates the main principles and avenues of cooperation within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Initiative till 2020. The declaration matches Belarus’ approaches and expectations as a whole. During the declaration’s approval process Belarus persistently spoke against including unilateral confrontational evaluations of the situation in the region into the document.

During the summit Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei met with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto. The sides discussed the state and prospects of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, including in pharmaceutics and agriculture. The possibility of providing mutual assistance in various international organizations was discussed.

Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei also met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Halbe Zijlstra. Political and humanitarian interaction between Belarus and Netherlands was discussed, including as part of the efforts to normalize Belarusian-European relations.

Vladimir Makei also met with European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn and a number of heads of delegations and ministers of foreign affairs of European Union member states and Eastern Partnership Initiative participating states.

 

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