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Press Releases, 12/14/2015

Finland and Latvia convene a meeting of Foreign Ministers of EU Member States and Belarus 

Press release 285/2015
14 December 2015

Finland and Latvia hosted the first informal breakfast meeting with Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei of Belarus on 14 December. In the meeting Minister Makei underlined Belarus' commitment to promoting human rights and democracy in the country. In order to further advance exchange of views, several EU Foreign Ministers stressed that consistent action is important to strengthen the rule of law in Belarus, including abolition of capital punishment.

This autumn, Belarus has taken positive steps expected by the EU. The last political prisoners were released in August. The presidential election in October was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. Therefore the EU decided that while it extends the restrictive measures directed against Belarus until 29 February 2016, it will suspend the implementation of most of them for four months. 

By means of launching the dialogue, the EU seeks to encourage Belarus to take further positive steps. The meeting supported the EU's objective of direct and open discussion with Belarus. 

Inquiries: Raili Lahnalampi, Chief of Foreign Minister Soini's Cabinet, tel. Päivi Peltokoski, Director, Unit for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, tel. +358 295 351523.

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