Foreign Minister of Latvia: while reviewing EU relations with Belarus, their impact on neighbouring countries should be assessed

On 21 March, Foreign Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis took part in a current Foreign Relations Council meeting in Brussels.

While discussing the situation in Libya, the ministers debated the EU involvement in the implementation of the UN resolution and agreed on extending the existing sanctions, namely, travel restrictions and assets freeze to a number of additional individuals and entities. Member states were of the same opinion about the special role of regional organisations, the Arab League and the African Union as well as a need for a co-ordinated engagement of an effective international community: UN, NATO, and the EU. Violence and civilian casualties were strongly condemned. The Foreign Minister of Latvia emphasised that the European Union should think about support to Libyan people no only on a short-term basis but also from a long-term perspective. The majority of member states, like Latvia, believe that in order to ensure an effective response of the international community to Libyan events, a particular attention should be paid to the co-ordination of engagement to avoid duplication.

Commissioner for Development Piebalgs and Commissioner for Humanitarian Assistance Georgieva briefed the ministers about the EU aid to Japan and the co-ordination thereof. The heads of state and government will follow up on the discussions on Friday, as part of the European Council meeting.

During the Foreign Affairs Council, a decision was taken on updating and expanding the list the list of Belarus officials on whom EU travel restrictions and an asset freeze would be imposed. The ministers looked at the situation development in Belarus and possible further steps to be taken by the EU. The Latvian Foreign Minister called on a detailed assessment of the consequences before making decisions on further restrictive measures, to avoid them affecting the Belarus population. The minister stressed that when revising EU's economic relations with Belarus, the interests of all EU member states, including Latvia, should be considered.

The foreign ministers also discussed future EU policy instruments in Bosnia and Herzegovina that would promote a more comprehensive EU engagement. The ministers expressed regret that the inability to form central and regional governments obstructs reform processes in the country.


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