Mar 06, 2009

Abkhazia: Recognition May Not Ostracize Belarus

Active ImageBelarus may join European Eastern Partnership even with recognition of Abkhazia independence.



Below is an article published by Naviny:

According to the Brussels-based online newspaper, the European Commission warned last week that it would “freeze rapprochement” if Minsk recognized the provinces.

However, “some EU states are taking a more ambiguous position, amid understanding that Russia is exerting economic pressure on Belarus over Georgia and that Belarus' independence is at risk if it is left out in the cold,” the paper said.

EUobserver quoted unnamed German and Dutch diplomats as saying that the recognition of the Georgian provinces would create problems for Belarus’ participation in the newly launched program.

In an interview with the newspaper, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas described the matter as “not that simple.” “We acknowledge we would face difficulties. But we would have to balance [the Georgia issue] with the fate and destiny of Belarus. We need to be open minded in the gradual anchoring of Belarus to the EU," he was quoted as saying.

The Eastern Partnership, originally proposed by Poland and Sweden in May last year [2008], is aimed at strengthening the EU's ties with Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova and, possibly, Belarus.

The leaders of the EU member states are expected to approve the program at a summit in Brussels later this month [March 2009] and the program will be launched in Prague on May 7 [2009].