TALLINN - The condition for restoring cooperation between the European Union and Belarus is the release and rehabilitation of political prisoners, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said on Oct. 10 at an EU meeting, reports LETA. At their meeting in Luxembourg, the European Union foreign ministers discussed the situations in Belarus and Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Paet stated that in order to restore cooperation with the European Union, Belarus must quickly and unconditionally release and rehabilitate all political prisoners. “We must continue to give support to civil society and free media in Belarus and move forward with preparations for the visa facilitation and readmission agreement,” he stated. Paet asserted that Estonia is also prepared to support the more widespread use of economic sanctions against Belarus.
The European Union is extremely concerned regarding the outcome of the court case in Ukraine against Yulia Tymoshenko. “This could affect relations between the EU and Ukraine in the future,” Paet noted.
The foreign minister said that Estonia supports concluding negotiations for the signing of an association agreement, since it would bring Ukraine closer to Europe. “It is also essential to achieve a free trade agreement,” he added.
“We also hope that the visa facilitation topic will be addressed at the European Union-Ukraine summit in December, since greater freedom regarding the movement of people is an important goal in European Union-Ukraine relations,” said Paet.