Belarus is reducing the number of its diplomatic missions, but this measure will not affect Ukraine and EU member countries, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey told state-run TV station ONT.
“We are shutting down embassies in those places where it is not profitable to keep them due to low turnover, low exports, etc. That is why we are going to cut back on our embassies in several countries, but it does not implicate European countries, Ukraine,” Makey said.
According to the minister, if such institution happens to get closed abroad, then it is harder to reopen it. Therefore, the Belarusian authorities are about to continue cooperation with all states, but they will definitely take into account those countries’ attitude to Belarus, Makey noted.
“We will see how we are treated. And if there are nuances preventing us from have a diplomatic presence in a certain country, we will make appropriate decisions,” Uladzimir Makey added.
Belarus is seeking to have normal relations with all countries, but if the West does not want them, Russia remains its main ally and partner, and the Belarusian Foreign Ministry will keep looking for other partners, he added.
Since October, the European Union leaders have imposed three sanctions packages against Belarusian officials involved in the 2020 the vote rigging and post-election violence in the country. In late January, EEAS spokesman Peter Stano warned that if ‘bad developments’ continued in Belarus, the sanction regime might be extended. At that, Uladzimir Makey said in an interview with the Russian media outlet RBC that Belarus had hardly lost all the opportunities to further cooperate with Western partners.
In early April, EU member countries submitted their proposals regarding the fourth package of sanctions; according to Franak Vyachorka, an international advisor to Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the policy makers are expected to consider 197 undesirable individuals along with several dozen entities and define the ‘candidates’ for blacklisting; then the rollout of new sanctions may be announced.