Consultations continue while expectations are high

Belarus’ Foreign Ministry has prepared proposals dealing with liberalisation of the visa regime with EU states and other countries

Belarus’ Foreign Ministry has prepared proposals dealing with liberalisation of the visa regime with EU states and other countries. Belarus hopes for the complete abolishment of EU and US sanctions in the near future and our country is ready to make maximum efforts to solve the Turkish-Russian conflict.

According to Belarus’ Foreign Minister, Vladimir Makei, the Foreign Ministry is now working to liberalise the visa regime between Belarus and other countries, including the EU states. “We have prepared proposals that I hope will be agreed by all interested state bodies and we’ll report on them to the President. I think this will help us to develop contacts, primarily in the spheres of business and tourism,” notes Vladimir Makei.

As far as visa abolishment with the EU is concerned, the Foreign Minister believes that it’s too early to be confident, though in 2014 and 2015 the parties made good progress on the visa facilitation and readmission agreements. Work on these documents was suspended unexpectedly last year when, before the Riga Summit of the Eastern Partnership initiative member states, the European partners suddenly decided to look into the technical details of some provisions of the agreement. “As a result, we were forced to revisit these provisions again. This issue is being agreed now. We do not believe that this is an insurmountable obstacle. We’ll continue working with our European partners to address those points that have arisen lately,” said the Head of the Foreign Ministry.

Belarus also expects that the sanctions imposed by the European Union and the USA will be fully lifted soon

The Minister asserted that the Belarusians have come a long way in normalising the relations with the European Union and the United States of America. Restrictive measures against Belarus have been suspended. “We hope that these sanctions will be completely lifted soon,” said Mr. Makei.

The Head of the Foreign Ministry believes that any kind of competition or pressure should have no place in the development of relations with Western partners in the future. “A dialogue means a normal conversation with all the parties involved on equal terms,” he said. “We have always been in favour of such an approach. And indeed thanks to the fact that our European and American partners have been able to take a fresh look at Belarus, to understand the reasons behind the decisions made by the Belarusian government in relation to foreign policy actions and foreign economic operations, we have been able to return to an atmosphere of mutual understanding.”

Belarus views the suspension of certain restrictive measures on the part of the European Union and the United States of America as an intermediate step. “The final step should be the complete removal of the relevant restrictive measures. This would certainly advance co-operation with our European partners to a brand new level. Meanwhile, we will look at the current situation and we understand that due to the bureaucratic machine in Brussels, these processes work slowly, but we are intent on continuing to work with our European and American partners,” the Minister concluded.

Belarus is ready to do its utmost to settle the Turkish-Russian conflict

Belarus is ready to do its utmost for the resolution of the Turkey-Russia conflict, notes Vladimir Makei.

“Belarus is not going to impose mediation services on anyone. Increased pressure and sanctions are not the way to resolve issues in interstate relations. As for the recent disagreements between Russia and Turkey, I’m convinced that sooner or later this conflict will be solved,” said Mr. Makei.

According to the diplomat, the Belarusian government has voiced its opinion regarding the Turkish-Russian conflict to the leaders of the two countries. “We cannot make the sides act in a way we would like them to act, but we can voice our opinion. We are interested in regulating this conflict as soon as possible and are ready, if necessary, to do our utmost for it. We are doing the same for Ukraine,” noted the Minister.

By Alexander Pimenov

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