The EU Council in its decision Monday, 15 February lifted most of the sanctions against Belarus.
This was announced at a press conference, German foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, reports «Interfax-Ukraine».
He noted that the main determining condition for the lifting of most EU sanctions was the release of all political prisoners in Belarus.
«Of course, we are not so naive as to believe that Belarus will change in one day. We will be watching (the developments). We see this today with the words «critical engagement», he stressed, noting that the focus may gradually shift on the second word.
According to the German Minister, the decision is open at least the possibility of a return to the Minsk mission of the OSCE, as well as resume dialogue on human rights. Germany will be able to raise Minsk before the question of the resumption of work in Belarus its holdings.
«These are the first steps, and I can’t yet say how far they will go, — said Steinmeier. — However, many who sat today at the table, concluded that it is worth taking advantage of this situation, to check the readiness of the Belarusian side to take a step forward».
The Minister stressed that from now on there are no obstacles to visits to Belarus officials from the EU and the Eastern partnership.
He did not talk about specific plans for his visit to Minsk, but said that over the weekend on the sidelines of the Munich security conference had a detailed conversation with the Belarusian delegation. According to him, the Minister of foreign Affairs of Belarus Uladzimir Makei, with whom he maintained contact in recent months, is one of those who is engaged in a «famous openness» in relation to Europe in the policy of Belarus.
In Warsaw the EU’s decision to lift the visa and financial sanctions against Belarus has supported, stated the Minister of foreign Affairs of Poland Witold Waszczykowski.
«We, as neighbours, are satisfied with this (step) I hope this will entail improving our neighborly relations», — quotes the TV channel ТВН24 Polish words Polish Minister, who is currently in Brussels.
«Besides, I’m soon going to pay a visit to Belarus in order to verify whether Belarus cooperation with the EU and first of all with Poland, because we are close neighbors,» — said Waszczykowski.
About removal of sanctions from Belarus reported earlier, a source in the EU Council.
«Remove sanctions against 170 individuals and 3 legal persons», — said the Agency interlocutor.
Recall that in late October of last year, the European Union four months has suspended sanctions against Belarus. In turn, the Ministry of Finance of the United States decided to partially suspend sanctions against some Belarusian enterprises.
Sanctions the EU and the USA against Belarus were adopted in 2011 after the Belarusian opposition on 19 December 2010 in Minsk organized an unsanctioned rally after voting in the presidential election. Authorities detained hundreds of protesters, including opposition presidential candidates.
For the first time sanctions were imposed against the Belarusian authorities in 2004. The reason then became flawed elections and repressions against the opposition. In 2006, Lukashenko and his colleagues were declared persona non grata in the EU. After the events of the 2010 black list of personalities has greatly expanded, were frozen assets of some Belarusian companies. In 2012, the EU has twice extended the sanctions against Belarus. In June 2013, however, the entry into the territory of the EU «to facilitate diplomatic relations» was allowed to the Minister of foreign Affairs of Belarus. In 2014, sanctions were again extended.
According to the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, the abolition of Western sanctions against Belarus was the Minsk process on the settlement of the situation in the East of Ukraine.
The EU Council lifted most sanctions against Belarus and will make sure the event 15.02.2016