All Quiet on the Western Front
Relations between Belarus and the West remain consistently grim. The Belarusian regime refuses to make any concessions to the European Union and the United States and continue with trials of protesters and journalists. In response, Western countries are in no hurry to impose additional sanctions but continue to apply pressure on Minsk in other ways.
On May 10, after a meeting of the EU foreign ministers, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell confirmed the continuation of work on the fourth package of sanctions against Belarus and expressed hope that the sanctions will be approved in the coming weeks.
It was previously assumed that further sanctions would be adopted in January; however, inconsistencies in position between the EU member states and a desire to leave room for manoeuvre should the Belarusian assume a more conciliatory stance has lead to repeated delays.
Also, on May 10, Maciej Popowski, Director General of the Department of Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations presented Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya with a draft comprehensive EU assistance plan for Belarus, which her team has been working on in recent months in cooperation with Tsikhanouskaya’s representatives. So far, details of the plan and the specific amount of assistance have not been announced. According to the official statement, the plan involves financial aid for the economy and support for political and economic reforms in partnership with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Preparations for implementation include the possibility of holding events such as the Investor Forum for the New Belarus and the Donor Conference.
On May 14, the diplomatic missions of the European Union called on the Belarusian regime to fulfil its international obligations and commitments to the UN and OSCE. A statement to this effect was posted on the Facebook page of the EU mission to Belarus after EU diplomats were denied access to a courtroom hosting the trial of a group of students and teachers for alleged offences connected to the protests of August 2020.
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Situation in Belarus