Updated at 18:07,08-09-2017

Prime Minister Kabyakow may represent Belarus at Eastern Partnership summit in Riga

By Maryna Nosava, BelaPAN

Prime Minister Andrey Kabyakow is expected to travel to Riga later this week to represent Belarus at the Fourth Eastern Partnership Summit, according to unconfirmed reports.

Rikard Jozwiak, a Brussels-based correspondent of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, wrote on Twitter on Monday with reference to a European Union commissioner that Alyaksandr Lukashenka will not attend the May 21-22 summit and will send the prime minister to Riga in his stead.

When reached by BelaPAN on Tuesday morning, Volha Dowhaya, spokeswoman for the prime minister, said, "Kabyakow's schedule for this week does not include this event but anything can happen."

While visiting Belarus this past February, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said that Riga would like all countries participating in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program to be represented at the summit at the highest level.

In mid-March, Latvian Ambassador Mihails Popkovs told BelaPAN that it was up to the Eastern Partnership countries to decide on the level of their participation in the summit.

Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey represented Belarus at the Third Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013.

Since 2011, Mr. Lukashenka has been banned from entering the EU for ordering a post-election crackdown on his opponents.