Baltic, Benelux foreign ministers call for Belarus dialogue
Foreign ministers of the three Baltic nations and the Benelux countries concluded a two-day mini-summit in Estonia on Thursday with a call for continued dialogue with Belarus, reported dpa.
"We touched upon the latest developments in Belarus following the elections there and we discussed the future of our dialogue given the positive developments, such as the release of political prisoners and the green light granted to OSCE observers to monitor the elections," Latvian Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
However, Riekstins also noted that question marks remain about the September 28 election in which opposition parties failed to win a single seat in the Belarussian parliament.
"There were still a number of reports indicating that Belarus has some way to go in order to achieve European standards. I would assume we will have this on the agenda at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers," Riekstins said.
"There was unanimity regarding the necessity for seeing how we can develop a dialogue with Belarus. There was a willingness to move forward on this matter."
Riekstins confirmed that other matters discussed included the situation in Georgia and the global financial crisis.
On the deployment of EU monitors in Georgia, the minister said he "wouldn't be pessimistic about the future of the mission despite mixed reports from the ground."
Discussing Europe's response to turmoil in the financial markets, Riekstins said there was "a very clear view" among the six ministers.
"We have to deal with the financial crisis in Europe using all existing European structures and working together, not by creating some kind of all-pervasive new body in addition to existing structures," he said.