Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has been invited to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, a source told TUT.BY on Tuesday.
The invitation was confirmed by the EU Delegation to Belarus.
The information about the invitation to the Belarusian leader from the European diplomats appeared the day before.
A correspondent of Radio Svaboda stated that Belarus was invited to participate in the summit in Brussels “without restrictions” like the other five members of the Eastern Partnership. He was referring to sources in the European Union.
On 10 October the EU Delegation to Belarus confirmed to TUT.BY that the invitation is addressed to Alexander Lukashenko personally.
“Belarus has been invited… and the invitation is addressed to the head of state. The decision about who will represent Belarus at the summit remains up to Minsk,” a spokes person for the EU said.
The event will take place in Brussels on 24 November.
The Belarusian president was not present at the past four summits. The European Union had sent invitations, but made it clear that Lukashenko’s presence at the summit was undesirable.
At the Riga summit in 2015 Belarus was represented by the Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei.
But will he go?
According to political analyst Denis Melyantsov, the personal invitation is an important sign as last time the invitation were addressed to countries, not persons.
“The only question is whether he (Alexander Lukashenko – note BF) will go to Brussels himself or not,” Melyantsov told TUT.BY.
“Of course, there is a lot of criticism of Belarus on the part of the EU countries. Nevertheless, I believe this trip has a lot of benefits.”
The analyst notes that Lukashenko will come to Brussels as a winner – to demonstrate his ability to resist the European sanctions.
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint initiative involving the EU, its member states and 6 Eastern European partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The initiative is intended to provide way for discussions of trade, economic strategy, travel agreements, and other issues between the EU and its Eastern European neighbors.