Updated at 11:09,11-12-2017

Makei expects 'EU sanctions logic' to stay behind

By Tanya Korovenkova, BelaPAN

Belarus expects the European Union to drop its "sanctions logic," Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey told reporters in Minsk on Thursday following his meeting with his Lithuanian counterpart, Linas Linkevicius.

Mr. Makey said that serious attention was devoted at the meeting to the relationship between Belarus and the EU following the 28-nation bloc`s move to suspend its sanctions targeting a number of Belarusian officials. Belarus appreciates the "constructive stance of the Lithuanian partners on the matter," he noted.

The Belarusian minister described the meeting as constructive and pointed out that Minsk and Vilnius maintain an "open, frank and constant" dialogue. According to Mr. Makey, in the last two weeks the two countries have held a series of events to discuss both bilateral relations and the Belarus-EU dialogue, outlining solutions to some problems. Mr. Linkevicius, for his part, thanked Minsk for the "constructive and open atmosphere" of bilateral relations.

"The suspension of the sanctions is a chance to strengthen the positive things that were achieved together, not to return to the past but to eliminate the causes that were an obstacle to the development of relations," he said.

Lithuania has pushed for faster negotiations on a visa facilitation agreement between Belarus and the EU, Mr. Linkevicius said, adding that talks on a Belarus-EU readmission deal were nearing completion.

According to Mr. Linkevicius, Lithuania appreciates Belarus` decision not to recognize the Russian-backed independence of Georgia`s breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Russia`s annexation of Crimea. He also praised Belarus for not joining Russia in its sanctions against the West.

Both countries should work to ensure that the construction of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant close to the Lithuanian border meet very high standards, said Mr. Linkevicius. He noted that government experts of Lithuania and Belarus would meet in December to discuss the project`s compliance with the UN Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention).