Minister Rau attends Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg
“The EU’s strong and united position is of key importance in supporting Belarus whose society wants democratic changes,” Poland’s top diplomat emphasized at a Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) session.
The debate in Luxembourg today focused on the developments in Belarus, EU policy towards Russia and the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. The EU foreign ministers talked about the escalating Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the situation in Latin America and the Caribbean. They addressed the recent EU-Ukraine summit and the developments in Venezuela, Afghanistan and Mozambique.
When talking about the situation in Belarus, Minister Rau thanked the EU member states, including the German Presidency, for their quick reaction and solidarity in response to the Belarusian authorities’ actions against Polish and Lithuanian diplomats. “We appreciate the decision of the German authorities to immediately recall their ambassador for consultations,” said Minister Rau. The Polish top diplomat urged the EU to launch new sanctions in response to the ongoing repressions and the Belarusian authorities’ lack of willingness to engage in a dialogue with the society. He said he was satisfied with the European Commission’s announcement of preparing an economic plan for a democratic Belarus, calling it an important incentive for dialogue and transition. The ministers took a political decision to start the preparation of a next sanctions package against the Belarusian authorities that would also cover Alexander Lukashenko.
The ministers resumed a discussion on Russia that started at the Gymnich meeting held in August in Berlin. Minister Rau underlined that Moscow’s negative actions (such as its attempt to poison Alexei Navalny and its role in Belarus) call for the European Union’s strong reaction. He said that improved human rights situation should be one of the main elements of EU-Russia dialogue and a condition for more intense talks in other areas. He stressed that in the present circumstances it would be difficult to imagine any positive change in the EU’s policy towards Russia. The Council supported the German-French proposal to adopt sanctions in response to the assassination attempt of Alexei Navalny using a chemical weapon.
Another important topic was the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and the member states’ support for the measures taken by the EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajčák who also took part in this part of the debate.
MFA Press Office
Photo: Sebastian Indra / MFA