Updated at 11:59,21-05-2018

New round of love-hate relationship between Belarus and the West


President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey discussed the prospects for the relationship between Belarus and the European Union and the United States, reported the presidential press office.

The head of state approves a "number of the foreign ministry’s proposals aimed at further stepping up work with European partners," the press office said.

"What is going on along the East-West axis? I am more interested in western affairs but in the run-up to the Supreme State Council of the Union State there may be questions regarding the eastern direction concerning the Single Economic Space and the Russian Federation," state-owned news agency BelTA quotes Lukashenka.

Unfortunately, no details of "further invigoration" were revealed.

The Belarusian foreign ministry intensified its contacts with representatives of Europe in December 2012.

On December 17, Mr. Makey met in Minsk with Gunnar Wiegand, the European External Action Service (EEAS)’s director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE. Messrs. Makey and Wiegand "discussed a range of issues concerning the current state of the relationship between Belarus and the EU and ways of its normalization," the foreign ministry reported, without elaborating.

On the same day Mr. Makey had a telephone conversation with his Czech counterpart, Karel Schwarzenberg, to discuss "ways or normalizing the Belarus-EU relationship." According to the Belarusian foreign ministry, the conversation was initiated by the Czech minister.

A delegation of the Council of Europe, led by Bjorn Berge, director of the Private Office of Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland, stayed in Minsk on January 14 and 15. The delegation met with Foreign Minister Makey and had meetings at the National Assembly and the Ministry of Justice.

On January 18, Mr. Makey held a meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions of EU countries, the Vatican, the United States and Switzerland to discuss "a wide range of issues concerning the state and development prospects of Belarusian-European relations in multilateral and bilateral formats."

On the same day a round of consultations was held in Minsk between the Belarusian and Lithuanian foreign ministries on the European Union's Eastern Partnership program. The Lithuanian delegation to the talks included Edminas Bagdonas, director of the Department for Eastern Neighborhood Policy who served as ambassador to Belarus between February 2007 and July 2012, and Ambassador-at-large Vaidotas Verba. According to the Belarusian foreign ministry, the talks focused on, among other issues, preparations for an Eastern Partnership summit to be held in Vilnius in November 2013 in the context of Lithuania`s presidency of the EU Council in 2013.