EU HR Josep Borrell: ‘I am ready to go to Minsk if this could contribute to progress’

On September 22, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has made a post about the action that Brussels is going to take on the back of the post-election events in Belarus.

In his blog, Borell recalls that during their recent meeting EU Foreign Ministers defined and agreed to pursue four basic tracks: sanctions; the need for national dialogue and the role of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); doing a full review of EU-Belarus relations; supporting the Belarusian population.

According to him, a package of around 40 names and entities has been prepared, which targets those responsible for the electoral fraud, the repression of peaceful protests and state-run brutality.

“In concrete terms, it would mean these people and entities will have any assets inside the EU frozen; they will not be able to receive any kind of funding or finance from within the EU; and they will be banned from entering the EU,” the diplomat said.

Josep Borrell reiterated that EU Foreign Ministers showed their full suppor for Belarusians, underlining that the future of the country must be decided by its people and them alone. But the top EU diplomat also expressed his readiness to Minsk and help improve the situation if deemed necessary.

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“For weeks, the Belarusian authorities have refused any engagement with the pro-democracy movement or international mediation through the OSCE, of which Belarus is a participating state. Despite this regrettable stance, we need to continue exploring any possibilities. For this reason, I welcome and support the activation of the “OSCE Moscow Mechanism” to carry out a fact-finding expert mission focusing on alleged human rights violations. We also support the proposal by the current and future OSCE Chairman in Office, Albania and Sweden, to go to Minsk. I am ready to go to Minsk if this could contribute to progress. Until now, Lukashenka has refused to engage with the European Union at any level,” he stressed.

In his opinion, Belarus’ opposition Coordination Council must be included in a forthcoming national dialogue, since ‘they are clearly calling for the holding of new, free and fair elections under international observation’.

“The European Commission is mobilising €53 million of immediate support to the Belarusian people in these challenging times. It covers legal assistance, medical support and other emergency assistance to those most in need. It also includes support for civil society and independent media,” Borrell reminded, commenting on the fourth ‘track’ in the EU-Belarus relations.

The politician also made mention of his regular contacts with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and put focus on repeatedly urging the Kremlin to respecting Belarus’ sovereignty and independence.

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