Updated at 18:12,15-06-2018

Minsk wants Lukashenka to be invited to Eastern Partnership summit


Minsk hopes that Alyaksandr Lukashenka will be invited to an Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius and it will decide afterward who will represent the country at the event in November this year, Andrey Hiro, the Belarusian ambassador to Germany, said at a conference in Berlin on May 7.

The diplomat recalled that Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg had handed Mr. Lukashenka an invitation to the 2009 summit at which the Eastern Partnership program was launched. At the same time, he said, EU diplomats asked Minsk to send a different representative to the summit.

Minsk accepted this "strange invitation" because it pinned great hopes on the program, but the Eastern Partnership has failed to live up to the expectations, said Mr. Hiro.
The ambassador expressed hope that there would be no discrimination against Belarus at the Vilnius summit. "We also hope that the final documents will contain a list of specific projects that should be implemented in the foreseeable future rather than a set of political declarations," he said.

According to unconfirmed reports, Belarus and the EU are holding consultations on who will represent the country at the summit. In particular, under discussion is the possibility of Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey being deleted from the list of Belarusians banned from the EU and invited to attend the event. In this case Minsk would be expected to release all political prisoners.

The European Union's Eastern Partnership program was launched at the summit in Prague, the Czech Republic, on May 7, 2009 with 33 countries participating: the 27 member states of the EU and six partner countries (Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Belarus). The program is aimed at enhancing and improving the EU's political and economic cooperation with the six post-Soviet countries from a long-term perspective.