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EU opened for dialogue with Belarus granting European rules of game

July 15, 2013, 12:41 UTC+3

At the same time, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said the dialogue could not be resumed without complying with certain preconditions

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VILNIUS, July 15 (Itar-Tass) - Belarus will be able to take advantage of the EU Eastern Partnership programme if Minsk agrees with European rules of the game, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told Itar-Tass.

Lithuania is currently presiding in the European Union.

Currently, there are no bilateral process between Brussels and Minsk and the EU is not in the fault, the Lithuanian minister said.

Belarus, as Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, continues to formally take part in the EU Eastern Partnership that was launched in 2009. However, for various reasons Belarus does not take part in the EP, Linkevicius said.

“The ball is on Belarus’ side,” the minister said. “The European Union is opened for the dialogue to the extent to which Belarus wants,” Linkevicius said.

At the same time, he said the dialogue could not be resumed without complying with certain preconditions. The Lithuanian minister named such preconditions as the release and rehabilitation of political prisoners and progress in democracy and human rights.

Linkevicius believes that Belarus is a European country. He stresses that Lithuania, being its closest neighbour, seeks to develop closer cooperation with Belarus.

“Belarus remains a member of the Eastern Partnership and we urge it to take advantage of it in full,” the Lithuanian diplomat stressed.

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