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Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus with Regard to the Approval by the Council of the European Union of the Decision to Suspend Tariff Privileges for Belarus within Generalized System of Preferences

21 December 2006

The approval by the Council of the European Union of the decision to suspend tariff privileges for Belarus within the EU Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which can take effect in six months, demonstrates the lack of foresight of its initiators and supporters. Short-sightedness and defectiveness of such a step are obvious.

It is evident that the EU decision absolutely runs counter to the stated goal of providing support to Belarusian population. This decision has clearly showed that in reality the interests of common citizens of the Belarusian state mean nothing to EU. Hypocrisy of the statements by the European Union is evident to everybody.

The EU decision is in a complete discord with the positive dialogue maintained by the Government of Belarus with International Labor Organization.

By carrying out a multi-vector foreign policy, Belarus has on its side reliable partners in different parts of the world. The EU decision will not provide a serious challenge to Belarus economy and citizens.

Exerting pressure from outside on the Belarusian people and its state will not yield any results. History has proved it many times. It is time for the European Union to give up the inertia of its thinking, and take a sober view of the situation in Belarus, admit its socio-economic successes, and the important contribution it made to strengthening the European security and stability. This all is an outcome of the real unity of the society and state leadership in developing a strong and prosperous Belarus.

We hope that common sense prevails in the European Union.

Not pressure, but an equal and mutually respectful dialogue must provide a basis for interaction, if EUs goal is indeed the creation of a large common Europe.

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