Following his last week’s talks in Latvia and Lithuania Uladzimir Makey, Belarus’s Foreign Minister, stressed that the EU should stop tying warmer relations with Minsk to the release of a ‘certain number of people who have received specific punishment for specific criminal acts’. Instead, he said, the EU and Belarus should get down to discussing a long-term strategy of relations.
Belarus hopes that ‘irreversible’ progress would be reached in relations with the European Union, he said. ‘There are certain improvements. They are connected above all with what seems to us as the fact that our partners are starting to realize that the situation in relations between the European Union and Belarus has reached a stalemate,’ Mr Makey told the Belarus One channel on Sunday.
‘It is important to Europe to have Belarus as a sovereign, independent country that has territorial integrity and makes its contribution to ensuring European stability and security,’ he said. ‘Belarus should remain this island of stability and security from Europe’s point of view. Let’s set this goal and move toward it.’
Mr Makey emphasized the importance of political and economic ties with the EU for Belarus, and expressed hope that the 28-nation bloc would come to realize that it needs to have dialogue with Minsk ‘where it is possible and beneficial both for Belarus and the European Union.’
Mr Makey said that Belarus’ participation in the Eastern Partnership program had been discussed during his visit to Latvia and Lithuania last week. According to him, Minsk wants the format of the program to be reviewed. ‘They should not make the same demands to all countries involved in the Eastern Partnership. We want to have good relations with the EU, but the level of these relations should be different,’ he said, urging the EU to have different approaches to different countries participating in the program.
www.belsat.eu/en, via BelaPAN