Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

"Easing diplomatic contacts": EU freezes travel ban on Belarusian FM

Belsat TV

In order to facilitate diplomatic contacts between the EU and Belarus, the Council of the European Union today suspended the EU travel ban on Uladzimir Makey, its press office reports.

However, he will remain on the list of persons subject to EU restrictive measures.

According to the press office, this decision does not reflect any change in the EU's policy towards Belarus. "The EU maintains its policy of critical engagement with Belarus, including its policy of sanctions, with a view to furthering the respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles in Belarus," the report says.

The Council is going to revert to this issue at the next annual review of the EU restrictive measures against Belarus in October and decide whether to extend the suspension.

It is to be recalled that earlier EP Deputy Head Jacek Protasiewicz told Belsat TV that the decision upon suspending visa restrictions concerning Uladzimir Makey might be taken. The same information was provided by Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrius Krivas on June 7, 2013.

More than 243 Belarusian citizens, including Makey himself, are currently subject to travel bans and the same persons plus 32 business entities are subject to asset freezes within the EU for their role in human rights violations in Belarus and support of the current regime. Uladzimir Makey was blacklisted while he was serving as head of the Presidential Administration. In his position Makey followed Siarhei Martynau, who was released from his duties inconnection with "his transferring to other work". The latter was not included in the black list.