Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

EU to lift entry ban on Foreign Minister Makey

By Iryna Lewshyna, BelaPAN

The European Union should soon suspend its entry ban on Uladzimir Makey for the period while he is Belarus foreign minister, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrius Krivas told reporters in Vilnius on Friday, according to Polskie Radio.

"Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey, who is subject to the EUs travel restrictions, will be able to attend a meeting of the foreign ministers of Eastern Partnership countries, which will take place in Brussels on July 22," Mr. Krivas is quoted as saying.

While speaking at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg in late April, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, suggested that the EU should resume political dialogue with Belarus, and that Mr. Makey should be invited to the July meeting.

"In the context of the forthcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Lithuania [in November 2013], it is important to hold regular discussions [with Belarus] about its possible results," Mr. Rinkevics said.

There have been consultations between Minsk and Brussels in the last several months about the level of Belarus representation at the summit.

Minsk expects the official invitation to the summit to be addressed to Alyaksandr Lukashenka and then it will be up to Belarus to decide who should represent it, Andrey Hiro, the Belarusian ambassador to Germany, said on May 7 during a meeting in Berlin.

Mr. Makey is on the EUs list of 243 Belarusian citizens who are subject to travel bans and asset freezes within the EU for their role in human rights violations and the persecution of political opponents.

Mr. Makey was added to the list in January 2011, when he headed Alyaksandr Lukashenkas Presidential Administration, after a brutal police crackdown on a post-election demonstration that opposition forces staged in Minsk on December 19, 2010, protesting the announced results of a presidential election.

A week before the demonstration, Mr. Makey claimed in a televised statement that Mr. Lukashenkas rivals in the presidential race were plotting violence in downtown Minsk on December 19, the main voting day.

"It is already known that they have no intention to make this event peaceful," he said. "Groups of militants are being trained; warm clothes, pyrotechnics and even explosives are being bought up."

"Opposition candidates explicitly instigate people and their supporters to stage provocations to make a nice picture for foreign television channels so that they will be able to say later, `Look, the authorities are tough, they treat their voters brutally," Mr. Makey said.

"I think that the authorities have enough power and resources to respond calmly and decently to a situation of this kind," he added.

Mr. Makey is also known for public statements revealing his idea of international relations as relations between enemies who pretend to be friends.

Belarus currently has to "literally rip out every barrel of oil and every cubic meter of gas with its teeth and fight with teeth for every square meter of the market to sell its products," he said in November 2010, speaking at a meeting of the Homyel Regional Soviet. "Someone may think that if our foreign partners smile at us, everything is fine, but we shouldnt trick ourselves because there is often a fist hidden behind their backs."

Alyaksandr Lukashenka rightly points out that the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the emergence of a very large number of independent states, which rushed to occupy a niche in the new trading system, Mr. Makey said. "Those states often behave dishonestly, some of them run like wolves, slaying their ilk along the way, pushing everyone aside with their arms and elbows," he said. "Belarus has always acted in a decent manner. It has always been a reliable partner, but this doesn't mean that we should bear humiliation calmly or silently absorb political and economic blows attempted by some of our partners."

After appointing Mr. Makey foreign minister in August 2012, the Belarusian leader said that Mr. Makey had succeeded in bringing relations with the West back to normal in difficult periods.