Officials of 7 EU countries due in Minsk this week: Issue of sanctions against Belarus?

Representatives of the foreign ministries of seven member countries of the European Union are visiting Belarus this week, news agency BelaPAN reports.

A delegation of the foreign ministries of the Visegrad Group countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) are due in Belarus on Tuesday, the press office of the Belarusian foreign ministry says. The delegation will have meetings with representatives of the foreign ministry, the Presidential Administration and the Council of Ministers.

Participants at the meetings are expected to discuss issues relating to cooperation between Belarus and the Visegrad Group, the current state and development prospects of relations between Belarus and the EU and regional security issues, the press office said.

Earlier reports had it that representatives of the foreign ministries of Austria, the United Kingdom and Germany would stay in Minsk on February 9 and 10. They are scheduled to have meetings with Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey.

On October 29, the European Union suspended sanctions against 171 Belarusian individuals and 10 economic entities for four months. At the moment, only four people from the European black list are not able to enter the EU. According to the bloc’s press service, the lifting of sanctions is a ‘response to progress in Belarus and is aimed at encouraging new changes’.

Read also: Probable reason for sanctions suspension is Lukashenka’s stance on Ukraine – UN Rapporteur on Belarus

At the same time, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council extented its restrictive measures, due to expire on October 31, until February 29, 2016.

Thus, the European Union is to decide by February 29 whether to re-impose its restrictive measures against Belarusian authorities, prolong their suspension or abolish them altogether.

Read also: Sanctions lifted! Sell goods, make money – Lukashenka, via BelaPAN