Minsk has no involvement in European Dialogue on Modernization, deputy minister says

The Belarusian government has not changed its decision not to take part in the European Union`s European Dialogue on Modernization with Belarus, Deputy Foreign Minister Alena Kupchyna told BelaPAN on Wednesday.

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"We do not participate in the European Dialogue on Modernization, which was launched without the participation of representatives of Belarus and without consultations with the Belarusian government," she said.

Speaking to reporters in Minsk on Tuesday, Gunnar Wiegand, the European External Action Service (EEAS)’s director for Russia, the Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and the OSCE, said that his meeting with Ms. Kupchyna earlier that day had focused on Minsk`s possible participation in the European Dialogue on Modernization with Belarus. He described the meeting as constructive and fruitful.

When asked by a BelaPAN correspondent whether Minsk had changed its negative attitude to the Dialogue, Mr. Wiegand noted that a constructive effort was being made for this purpose, and that Brussels was aware of the sensitivity of the issue.

Mr. Wiegand noted that his visit was part of the EU’s attempt to be closer to Belarus within the framework of the Eastern Partnership.

According to him, there has been less progress in the EU’s relations with Belarus than with the other Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), but the Belarus-EU relationship is gradually improving.