Romania supports the adoption of sanctions in Belarus as soon as possible and also an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mission to mediate dialogue in this country, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu told the meeting of foreign affairs ministers from European Union member states on Monday.
He delivered a speech in the opening of the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.
“We have just finished a working breakfast with the leader of the opposition in Belarus, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, where I expressed Romania’s position with respect to the situation in Belarus, our appreciation for the courage of the citizens in Belarus and the representatives of the opposition, who continue to fight for their rights, despite the efforts of the regime to repress them. I believe that Belarus is currently facing a phase of transition to modernization and democracy, and it’s the European Union’s duty to support this effort. I have thus expressed Romania’s support for the civil society and for an independent media in Belarus and I have reminded my colleagues and Mrs Tikhanovskaya that Romania transferred 100 thousand euros through the European Endowment for Democracy fund to support an independent media and the civil society in Belarus,” Aurescu is quoted as saying in a press release sent to AGERPRES.
He reiterated the fact that Romania supports the adoption of sanctions, “as soon as possible,” and also the activation of OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism.
“I have reiterated the fact that Romania supports the adoption of sanctions, as soon as possible. Also, I have reminded everyone present the fact that Romania supported the activation of OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism and supports the organisation of an OSCE mission for the mediation of the dialogue in Belarus,” said Aurescu.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy mentioned the importance of the Joint Statement adopted on Monday morning and made public by the presidents of Romania, Poland and Lithuania.
“This joint statement includes a proposal addressed to the international community and the European Union to prepare an economic assistance package for a democratic Belarus. Among other things, this package could include assistance for accession negotiations with the WTO, assistance for the development of a Liberal economy and the implementation of a visa free regime as soon as the situation allows it, and also other types of financial assistance to be provided by international financial organisations,” said Aurescu.
He said the current developments in Russia, related to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, is also among the items on the FAC meeting agenda.
“In Romania’s opinion, the European Union should play a more active role in this matter. We have joined our colleagues in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark and Poland and sent a letter to High Representative Borrell in which we ask for an active involvement of the Union in this, as we believe that Russia should meet its responsibilities and initiate a transparent and impartial investigation, while fully cooperating with the OPCW, and I also think that we should examine into the possibility of applying sanctions, when the case, in relation to this case of poisoning of Mr Navalny,” said Aurescu.
The Romanian official also tackled the situation in Turkey, reiterating his call to reduce tensions.
“We are also going to discuss about the situation in Turkey and I will reiterate my call, on Romania’s behalf, to reduce tensions, because it is absolutely necessary to maintain calm, at this point, and resume negotiations between the parties involved. We will also listen to the presentation of Mr Borrell about the recent efforts made in establishing a framework that would allow parties to return to the negotiations table. We appreciate the efforts made by High Representative Borrell, Germany and the president of the European Council in this respect,” showed Aurescu.
At the same meeting, the foreign affairs ministers are set to discuss the situation in Libya, according to Aurescu.
“Moreover, we are going to discuss about Libya, about the relation between the EU and the African Union, the relations with the southern vicinity and we are also waiting impatiently for the debates on this topic. For instance, with respect to Libya, we wish for a transition from a simple cease-fire agreement to a real negotiation process to help identifying a sustainable solution to this conflict between the parties involved. In respect to the southern vicinity relation, we are looking forward to participate in the debate today meant to identify modalities of strengthening partnership with the countries in our southern vicinity,” added the head of the Romanian diplomacy, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE).