Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Austria played decisive role in lifting of EU sanctions against Belarus, ambassador says

By Vyachaslaw Budkevich, BelaPAN

Austria played the decisive role in securing the abolition of the European Unions sanctions targeting Belarusian authorities, Valery Varanetski, the outgoing Vienna-based ambassador of Belarus to Austria and Croatia, said in an interview broadcast on the ONT television channel on Sunday night.

The diplomat said that the Austrian government had called for stopping this unfair and inefficient process in which the European Union got stuck a bit. I think Austrias stance in this sense created a new quality of relations, he said. The opinion of the business community was behind Austrias stance.

Mr. Varanetski said that Austrias attitude toward Belarus had changed drastically since he had taken his job in Vienna five years ago.

The attitude of politicians, diplomats, officials, ordinary Austrians, people who are interested in politics has changed, he said. The attitude of businesspeople has changed very seriously. This is evidenced by the fact that Austria is de facto the second-largest real investor in Belarus behind Russia.

Mr. Varanetski gained a seat in the House of Representatives (Belarus` lower parliamentary chamber) as a result of last months elections.