Belarusian representative not invited to Eastern Partnership meeting

Belarusian Foreign Minister Siarhei Martynau has not been invited so far to attend a meeting of the Eastern Partnership foreign ministers which is to be held in Prague on March 4, 2012, Petr Mareš, the Special Envoy for the Eastern Partnership from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic told reporters in Minsk. He has not sounded the conditions under which Martynau could participate in the meeting, but he specified: «The both sides know what should be done for that to happen.»

The envoy said that he was staying in Minsk on a two-day visit that included meetings with representatives of the Belarusian foreign, culture and education ministries, Belarusian State University and the National Academy of Sciences.

In particular, Mr. Mareš met with Raman Ramanouski, head of the foreign ministry’s Department for Pan-European Cooperation. The Czech diplomat said that «problems in our relations» that concern «generally accepted values» had been raised at the meeting. «But this time the subject had not been expanded,» he added.

Answering the question about whether the issue of political prisoners had been brought up during the talks, the Special Envoy replied in the negative. But Petr Mareš pointed out that the position of the Czech Republic and the EU on this issue had been sounded long ago and it remains unchanged: «Release of political prisoners is the first step towards cooperation between the EU and Belarus.»


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