Minsk welcomes the easing of sanctions
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko at today's meeting of the government expressed his satisfaction with the decision by the European Union to ease sanctions against his country.
"The Minister of Foreign Affairs should thank his colleagues for such a decision. Well done. They realized that this is the moment to deviate from this bloc mentality and confrontation with Belarus,'' RIA Novosti cites him as saying.
"They have reached a completely satisfying solution,'' the Belarusian leader said.
In this regard, the President instructed his ministers to speed up the work with various banking structures of the EU, as well as with potential investors. "We are open to this,'' Alexander Lukashenko assured.
The decision by Brussels was welcomed by Moscow. "This step shows once again the absolute senselessness of sanctions, and the uselessness of the continuing sanctions. Of course, we received it very positively, but, I repeat it once again, sanctions show the general inferiority of this way of thinking,'' the head of the press service of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov said.
The European Union recently announced the cancellation of the majority of sanctions against Belarus, including thise imposed against Alexander Lukashenko personally.
Announcing the corresponding statement, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the main determining condition for the removal of most of the EU sanctions was the release of all political prisoners in Belarus. "Certainly, we are not so naive as to believe that Belarus will change in one day. We will monitor events. We can define it today with the help of the following words – critical cooperation," the minister said, noting that the emphasis may be gradually shifted to the second word in the phrase.
The deputy director of the CIS Institute, Vladimir Zharikhin, noted in a conversation with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that the European Union realized that sanctions would not radically change the policy of Alexander Lukashenko.
"This applies to both domestic and foreign policy. Brussels doesn't see any sense in prolonging sanctions. According to them, lifting the sanctions was a hint to the Belarusian President that above all it would be nice to change its foreign policy position in relations with Russia. If he does it in this way he will receive a number of specific advantages," the expert said.
At the same time, he expressed the opinion that Lukashenko is an experienced man who is well aware that it will lead to corresponding actions.
"Moreover, the experience of neighboring countries, from the Baltic countries to Ukraine, shows only promises. So I do not think that the EU will be able to fundamentally change the position of the Belarusian president with the help of these measures,'' the deputy director of the Institute of CIS countries said.