News Agency “BelTA”: Few days are left before the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels. Did Belarus reach the decision regarding the level of its’ participation in the Summit?
A.Shuplyak: The Belarusian side appreciates the invitation to attend the Summit at the level of the Head of State. We see it as a reflection of the progress in Belarus-EU relations and a transition, after a long period of disagreement, to a new state of cooperation with the EU as a very important neighbor, a partner in resolving issues of international security in the European region and on the expansion of trade and investment cooperation between the EU countries and Belarus.
In diplomatic practice, a high-level visit is usually the culmination of the sides’ mutual efforts to develop cooperation, which marks the achievement of profound systemic results that are important for the bases of bilateral interaction between the relevant subjects of international relations.
With the active participation of the EU Member States, Minsk and Brussels are working together to develop equal and mutually beneficial relations, whilst discussing the full range of issues of cooperation within the Belarus-EU Coordination Group, Sectoral Dialogue in the sphere of Trade, Belarus-EU Human Rights Dialogue, as well as continuing to coordinate the partnership Priorities. The Belarusian side is interested in removing all the EU restrictions regarding the opportunities for cooperation with Belarus. Negotiations leading to the conclusion of the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation are to be added to the agenda of the Belarusian-European relations.
Belarus is interested in continuing to participate in the EU “Eastern Partnership”, which should become evidently beneficial for the citizens of Belarus and the EU, facilitating the business environment, contacts between people, communication in various fields, raising the level of objective knowledge about each other. Currently, the EU Eastern Partnership is more of a form of cooperation, in which the partner countries seek recognition of the European perspective. Belarus does not set such a goal, but advocates the preservation and development of the EU “Eastern Partnership” as an instrument for development of non-politicized cooperation, directed not against anyone, but to solve common problems and issues that nations and states of our region are facing.
Belarus, as the venue for the meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group, that has put forward initiatives to combine the European and Eurasian economic integration processes, launch a broad dialogue on overcoming existing contradictions in the mutual relations between the states in our common space, Euro-Atlantic and Eurasia, would like to see the EU “Eastern partnership” Summit as the most depoliticized event, contributing to the elimination of disunity in a larger Europe.
Further development of relations between Belarus and the EU, the pragmatic strengthening of the EU “Eastern Partnership” and the adoption of measures that do not deepen the contradictions, but contribute to the de-escalation of tensions in our common region that are the basis of our position for the Eastern Partnership Summit.
The Belarusian delegation at the Summit in Brussels will be headed by the Foreign Minister, Vladimir Makei.