Andrey Hiro, the Belarusian ambassador to Germany expressed hope that Aliaksandr Lukashenka will be invited to an Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius and it will decide afterward who will represent the country at the event in November this year.
The diplomat recalled that Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg had handed Mr Lukashenka an invitation to the 2009 summit at which the Eastern Partnership program was launched. At the same time, he said, EU diplomats asked Minsk to send a different representative to the summit. Minsk accepted this “strange invitation” because it pinned great hopes on the program, but the Eastern Partnership has failed to live up to the expectations, Andrey Hiro stressed.
According to unofficial information, Minsk and Brussels are carrying out consultations on who will represent the country at the summit. The possibility of Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey being deleted from the list of Belarusians banned from the EU and invited to attend the event is said to be discussed. But at the same time the Belarusian government is expected to release all political prisoners.
The Eastern Partnership is a project initiated by Poland and a subsequent proposal was prepared in cooperation with Sweden. It was presented by Poland and Sweden at the EU’s General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on 26 May 2008. The Eastern Partnership initiative is targeted at post-Soviet countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine).
The Partnership aims at promoting democracy and good governance, strengthening energy security, promoting sector reform and environment protection, encouraging people to people contacts, supporting economic and social development and offering additional funding for projects to reduce socio-economic imbalances and increase stability.