EU diplomacy should be reasonable and understandable

European Union ambassadors’ return to Belarus should be sensible, notes Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov after meeting with President — devoted to issues of foreign policy, BelTA informs

“If they [EU ambassadors — BelTA] return now and sanctions are again applied in April, then what kind of dialogue would you call that!?” wonders Mr. Martynov. He underlines that Belarus has always been in favour of dialogue, including regarding relations with the European Union. “Ambassadors are a key channel for dialogue in any situation: be it calm or otherwise,” he asserts.

“By the way, we didn’t ask the ambassadors of EU member states to leave the country. We suggested that two specific ambassadors should leave for a week, perhaps for consultations. The response of the European Union was disproportional; it was massive. It was their initiative,” he explains. “Now, the European Union is asking if they may return their ambassadors. In truth, we shrug and say we did not send you away and we are not against your return. However, it should be done sensibly, in a way which people can understand,” adds Mr. Martynov.

The Minister underlines that ambassadors should work to benefit inter-country relations. Asked whether Belarus is considering taking reciprocal measures in response to European Union sanctions, Mr. Martynov notes, “If this policy and these actions continue, we’ll assert that such actions are inappropriate, thereby provoking a similar response.”

Mr. Martynov believes that the pardoning of ‘political prisoners’ has nothing to do with relations with the EU. “This is connected with domestic law enforcement measures which were taken,” he notes. “The issue has its own dynamics of development. Several people have submitted petitions for pardon and there is a procedure for dealing with such petitions. This procedure was somewhat complicated by allegations that people have been allegedly coerced to write petitions for pardon.”

The procedure to verify whether these allegations are true has now been completed. According to the Minister, it took some time, as legal procedures are always complicated and sometimes bureaucratic. “The results of these procedures reveal that there was no element of pressure,” Mr. Martynov stresses. “The decision will be made on the basis of the country’s domestic legal procedures that have nothing to do with the European Union, Australia, Antarctica or any other,” he emphasises.

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