Belarus suspends participation in Eastern Partnership initiative

 Belarus has suspended its participation in the Eastern Partnership initiative of the European Union, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on its website on 28 June, BelTA reports.

Head of the European Union’s Delegation to Belarus Dirk Schuebel was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 28 June and was told Belarus was forced to take concrete steps in response to the unprecedented restrictive measures imposed on the country by the EU.” One of these steps is the suspension of Belarus’ participation in the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative.

Belarus said it would also suspend a readmission agreement with the European Union, which defines the procedures to readmit people who illegally cross the joint border.

“Despite the decision by the Lukashenko regime to suspend Belarus participation in the Eastern Partnership, we are ready to continue working with the Belarusian people to strengthen the bonds, foster regional cooperation and tackle joint challenges,” High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Josep Borrell said after the announcement

The Eastern Partnership initiative involved six post-Soviet countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The initiative is aimed at promoting political association and economic integration with the European Union.

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