Belarus suspends dialogue on human rights with the European Union, and also lowers the level of participation in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program. Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said this on the air of the Belarus 1 TV channel.
“The European Union and some countries are trying to criticize us on human rights issues, on issues of democracy. All this is absolutely artificial and politicized. We see that with the UN Human Rights Council and a number of other organizations,” noted the minister.
“We see no point in continuing the dialogue on human rights with the EU. We will suspend it until the EU changes the policy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank, which have frozen the cooperation programs with Belarus. We do not see much sense in working on the full-fledged basis in the Eastern Partnership initiative,” said Makei.
He added that all these measures are only a response to the “provocative, destructive steps” that the European partners have taken towards Belarus. Makei said that “if someone wants to set fire in the region,” Belarus has a sufficient set of tools to respond adequately.
According to Makei, the expediency of cooperation between Belarus and the EU on nuclear energy, common fight against illegal emigration, border crime, drug smuggling, etc. can be reconsidered. He also hinted at the suspension of humanitarian and educational programs in Belarus.
“But we would not like, I repeat once again, to resort to this. I hope that common sense will prevail and no one would like to build new Berlin walls,” stressed Makei.
On Tuesday, it became known that Belarus mirrored its sanctions list on the EU member states and Canada in response to the decision of the EU Council to impose restricitve measures on Belarus. The Foreign Ministry reported that it wouldn’t not make the list publicбas a courtesy.
However, the retaliatory list is equivalent, and operates within the framework of the integration associations, of which Belarus is part. Official Minsk “recommends that high-ranking European officials take this information into account when planning their trips.”