Visiting Belarus visa-free

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus on the conclusions of the Council of the European Union on Belarus

The conclusions adopted by the Council of the European Union reveal its intention to impose its will on the Belarusian authorities and society, even resorting to threats. Such an approach has neither reasons nor prospects.

Belarus has more than once pointed out, to our partners in the European Union as well, that the forthcoming presidential election of 2006 will be held in strict compliance with the existing election legislation of the Republic of Belarus and international standards. As for the international election observation, it was conducted in an unimpeded way in Belarus, just unlike it was the case in a number of EU Member States during recent elections.

The EU persistency in financing political processes on the territory of our State flexibly and in circumvention of the effective Belarusian authorities has nothing to do with the respect of sovereignty. This sort of back door funding is simply unlawful, not only in Belarus but in the majority of countries in the world. We reiterate it to our European partners.

The European Union is fully aware that Belarus stands ready to engage in a dialogue on an equal footing, in particular within the framework of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the European Neighbourhood Policy, transparent financial instruments. The credibility of such a dialogue entirely depends on complying with the principles of international law, first and foremost, the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs.

Belarus welcomes the EU willingness to engage with Belarusian officials. It is to be done at an adequate level and in an adequate way. The policy on limited contacts by no means meets common interests in the interrelated world.

We reiterate our willingness to gradually normalize EU-Belarus relations in the spirit of mutual respect and common responsibly for strengthening peace and stability in Europe.

Minsk, November 9, 2005