President Lukashenko Will Visit EU For The First Time In 3 Years

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen officially invited Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to visit Vienna in November 2019, interfax.by reports.

“Details of the visit are still being discussed. The general public will be informed about them later,” Ambassador of Austria to Belarus Aloisia Worgetter said during the press conference.

Belarus-Austria cooperation has been advancing particularly dynamically this year. President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl, and the then Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz visited Belarus.

Recall that Brussels sanctioned Belarus following the crackdown after the presidential election in Belarus in 2010, making it impossible for Belarus president to visit the EU states, among other things.

Only six years later, in response to the release of political prisoners, the EU lifted most sanctions. Shortly afterwards, the president paid a visit to Italy and the Vatican where he met with Pope Francis.

Since then, the head of states had been invited several times to the EU to various events, however, the visits didn’t happen. The Belarusian side has repeatedly stressed that they see no sense in just visiting the EU.

“We always said that a visit should not be for the sake of a visit. The can be undertaken – and this is our principled approach – when it is prepared and we can expect specific, important results in terms of developing trade and economic relations, political, humanitarian cooperation,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makeш back in October.

Then the Foreign Minister announced a “full-fledged” visit of Lukashenko to one of the EU countries before the end of 2019. As TUT.BY previously reported, citing sources in diplomatic circles, Lukashenko’s visit to Vienna could take place on 12 November.