The European Union`s sanctions against Belarus are an “absolutely abnormal phenomenon” and should be lifted, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey said after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on July 10, 2013.
In 2011 Mr Makey himself was included in the list of persons taking responsibility for human rights abuse and repressions against opposition and civil society in Belarus. Those on the black list are subject to a travel ban and a freeze of their assets within the European Union. But aiming at facilitating political dialogue between the EU and Belarus, the Council of the European Union chose to suspend the travel ban imposed on Uladzimir Makey while he holds the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.
“We have always called for dialogue and any proposals that might contribute to the development of this dialogue with our European partners,” he said. “We intend to maintain close relations with all of our neighbors, with all countries that are ready to meet us halfway,” news agency BelaPAN quotes Belarusian Foreign Minister as saying.
Mr Makey said that Minsk had a calm attitude toward the EU`s discussions over who should be invited to represent Belarus at an Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius this November. “We believe that if the EU is interested in having dialogue with Belarus, it should be an equal dialogue without blackmail and ultimatums,” he said.
Belarus is interested in involvement in the Eastern Partnership at the “current stage,” the minister noted. “We can borrow something useful from it, can take part in some regional programs that may bring benefits to Belarus,” he said.
However, he hinted that Minsk could withdraw from the program if it found it no longer useful.