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MINSK, February 16. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said he is satisfied with the European Union’s decision to lift most sanctions from Belarus.
"The foreign minister should thank his colleagues for making such a decision. The EU did good, they understood that it’s high time to move away from this blocking mindset and confrontation with Belarus," Lukashenko said at the session on measures to boost effectiveness of social-economic sphere. "They (EU) made a decision that is absolutely satisfactory for us," he added.
The Belarusian president ordered the government to step up work with EU banking structures and potential investors. "We are open for this," Lukashenko noted.
EU lifted sanctions from President Alexander Lukashenko and 170 other Belarusian officials on Monday. However, the arms embargo remained in force.
The decision to partially lift sanctions was made in response to freeing political prisoners in Belarus last August in the context of improving relations between Brussels and Minsk. EU also noted falling number of violations at presidential election in Belarus on 11 October 2015 compared to previous voting. Many experts say that another factor in deciding to lift sanctions after 13 years was their ineffectiveness.
Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said on February 9 that "sanctions are not a good method to develop cooperation and inter-state relations." "We are ready to move along our part of the way in the framework of EU’s expectations. We are interested in looking for common ground through dialogue and moving on to normal cooperation," Makei said.
Sanctions against Minsk were gradually expanded until mid-2012 when it included 240 individuals and 32 legal entities. The restrictions have remained in force since then though the "black list" narrowed because several individuals passed away and others won lawsuits against EU.