Yet Austria: Belarus president to visit EU for first time in three years

Аляксандр Лукашэнка і канцлер Аўстрыі Себасцьян Курц падчас абмену падарункамі, 29 Травень 2019 года. Фота –

Alyaksandr Lukashenka will make an official visit to Vienna on November 12, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey said on Monday.

“We are in very close contact with our Austrian partners; we are working on the economic part of the programme [of the visit]. In addition, the negotiations of the presidents of Belarus and Austria have been scheduled,” quotes Makey.

In February 2016, in the wake of the latest presidential elections in Belarus, the European Union decided to lift its sanctions against Alyaksandr Lukashenka and 169 Belarusian officials cancelling the visa ban and assets freeze. So, the Belarusian leader has been free to come to any European city.

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In May 2016, he visited Italy and the Vatican where he met with Pope Francis. Since then, however, the politician does not seem to be in hurry to travel around Europe.

In September 2018, the Belarusian president was invited to Paris to take part in the events on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. However, Alyaksandr Lukashenka failed to show up at the celebrations; our country was represented by Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Council of the Republic of Belarus.

In March 2019, Polish president Andrzej Duda issued invitations to the ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War to leaders of EU, NATO and the EaP countries, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka. But the Belarusian leader is unlikely to accept it as Russia’s Vladimir Putin was not invited to the event.

In May, the European Union invited Lukashenka to dinner to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the EaP initiative, but it was decided that Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey would replace him. In 2017, the top Belarusian diplomat also visited the EaP Summit, where the Belarusian president had been invited.

In late July, Lukashenka told Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics that he was looking forward to seeing Riga.

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