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Opinions & Interviews

20 Oct 2014

Kupchina: Ball is in Europe’s court in Belarus-EU visa matters

Kupchina: Ball is in Europe’s court in Belarus-EU visa matters

MINSK, 20 October (BelTA) – The ball is now in Europe’s court when it comes to visa regulations between Belarus and the EU, Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Yelena Kupchina has told the Belarus 1 TV channel, BelTA has learned.

“The ball is in Europe’s court. We really hope that another round of consultations will be held in the nearest future to discuss the matters that are truly important for Belarus,” Yelena Kupchina said.

She emphasized that this process is bilateral. Yelena Kupchina reminded that in November 2013 Belarus expressed readiness to engage in talks on two agreements with the EU: on liberalization of visa formalities and on readmission. In June 2014 one round of these talks took place in Minsk. “In our view, we put forward a series of very constructive, interesting suggestions that really meet the interests of our citizens. I would like to note that they chime in with the changes in the visa policy of the EU member states. However, we have not received an answer from the European side since June,” Yelena Kupchina said.

Speaking about trade and economic cooperation with the EU member states, Yelena Kupchina noted that it expanded several times over the past months. First of all, this pertains to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. “We are cooperating more closely on these matters with the European Union and want to stay true and transparent when it comes to our obligations with the Russian Federation,” the Deputy Foreign Minister noted.

When asked about the visa sanctions against Belarusian citizens, Yelena Kupchina noted that Belarus strongly condemns such measures. “We understand that they – these sanctions – are the major obstacle in our relations with the European Union. If we could lift them, I am sure our cooperation with the EU and individual EU member states would soon reach a brand new level. I see the increasing understanding of it in European countries and among their political circles,” she said. Yelena Kupchina noted that the inclusion of journalists in the EU’s travel ban list is nonsense and this practice absolutely contradicts the values the European diplomacy speaks about.

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