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Opinions & Interviews

3 Mar 2014

Makei: The EU is realizing the need to cooperate with Belarus

Makei: The EU is realizing the need to cooperate with Belarus

MINSK, 3 March (BelTA) – European partners gradually come to understand that they need to cooperate with Belarus, Belarus’ Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has said in an interview with the Belarus 1 TV channel, BelTA has learnt.

“We are ready for an open, sincere and equal dialogue with the European Union. I think that our European partners are realizing little by little that we need to cooperate and engage in a dialogue whenever it is possible and beneficial for Belarus and the European Union. We discussed the matter during my visit to Latvia and Lithuania on 27 February-1 March. Among the things we touched upon was Belarus’ participation in the Eastern Partnership initiative,” Vladimir Makei said.

He believes that given the recent developments in Ukraine, the format of this initiative needs to be revised. “One should not set out the same requirements to all the partner states of the Eastern Partnership. We want to have good relations with the European Union; however the level of these relations should be different. The European Union should also be guided by this principle, it should abandon its one-size-fits-all approach to the partner states,” the Foreign Minister said.

In his words, the improvements in the relations with the EU are due to the fact that European partners come to understand that the relations between the EU and Belarus have reached a stalemate. “One should not insist on the liberation of some prisoners who got a concrete sentence for a concrete crime. Different things should come to the forefront. It should be about a long-term cooperation strategy between Belarus and the European Union,” Vladimir Makei said.

According to the Belarusian Foreign Minister, Europe should decide what is most important for it. “Europe is interested in a sovereign, independent, and whole Belarus that makes its contribution to maintaining stability and security in Europe. Belarus should be an island of stability and security from Europe’s point of view. Let us set it as our goal and move towards it,” the Foreign Minister said.

“We are part of Europe geographically. However, we should be part of Europe not only geographically, but also politically and economically. The European Union is our second biggest trading partner after Russia,” Vladimir Makei said.

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