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Opinions & Interviews

14 May 2019

Call to make positive processes in Belarus-EU relations irreversible

Call to make positive processes in Belarus-EU relations irreversible
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BRUSSELS, 14 May (BelTA) – I hope that the positive processes in the relations between Belarus and the European Union have become irreversible, Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said as he addressed the High-Level Conference on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the EU initiative Eastern Partnership in Brussels, BelTA has learned.

The minister stressed that over the past three to four years, the parties have done a lot more than in the previous decade when Belarus was under restrictions and sanctions. According to him, progress has been made in all areas. “My only wish is that these positive processes become irreversible,” Vladimir Makei said.

“We decided to participate in the Eastern Partnership initiative from the beginning. It was our clear decision. Some people see view  Belarus as a buffer zone of sorts. I do not like this wording. I would like to talk about the zone of prosperity and well-being, therefore we decided to participate in this initiative,” the minister said.

Vladimir Makei noted that outside observers may not see positive progress in the development of humanitarian cooperation between Belarus and the EU. However, he said, the parties have achieved a lot. The Belarus-EU Coordination Group deals with the whole range of issues of relations.

“I know that some issues are sensitive for the European Union. It is important, however, to continue dialogue, discuss the existing problems openly. I mean death penalty, EU’s concerns over human rights in Belarus and so on,” the minister said. In his words, Belarus has developed the national human rights action plan taking into account the UN recommendations. The program is successfully implemented.

A working group has been set up in the Belarusian parliament to study the death penalty issue. “I think it is important to continue working with the society in order to change its attitude to the matter,” Vladimir Makei said.

Speaking about the agreements with the EU, the minister wondered why the parties have not managed to sign the Partnership Priorities yet. “There are still some problems. The remaining technicalities remain unsolved because of the postilion of one country. Frankly speaking, I do not understand this,” he said. Belarus hopes that the visa facilitation and readmission agreements will be signed before the end of the year.

“The visibility of the Eastern Partnership initiative is still very low, especially in Belarus. This means we need to pay more attention to the pragmatic side of the initiative and make it more results-oriented,” Vladimir Makei said.

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