Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Valerian', 'A Violent Life' and 'Belle de Jour'

Read more

FOCUS

The limits of affirmative action in Brazil

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Rival Libyan leaders back ceasefire, elections

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Western men 'less fertile' due to modern living, scientists warn

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A 'crazy gamble': Luc Besson's €197m blockbuster 'Valerian' hits French cinemas

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New KitKat factory to cater for exotic flavours

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

John McCain's healthcare vote backlash

Read more

THE DEBATE

The Macron Touch: Can the new French president be Libya's peacemaker?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Maduro's regime is a criminal dictatorship'

Read more

Europe

Belarus invited to summit on ex-Soviet states

Latest update : 2009-04-17

The EU has invited Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko to a summit on relations with ex-Soviet states to take place in May, in a move that could spark criticism over Belarus' human rights record.

AFP - The European Union has invited Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko to an EU summit on partnership with ex-Soviet states in Prague on May 7, the Czech foreign minister announced Friday.

Karel Schwarzenberg, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said he had met Lukashenko and handed over the invitation.

"It's up to the president... in which way Belarus will be represented at the conference," Schwarzenberg told reporters in the Belarussian capital Minsk.

The Prague summit is dedicated to an Eastern Partnership programme intended to develop ties with six non-EU states in the former Soviet bloc, the other states being Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Belarus' involvement had been in question because of differences over abuses of democratic and human rights standards in the country.

Lukashenko's regime was dubbed Europe's last dictatorship by the United States, but recent months have seen a warming of EU-Belarus ties, to the irritation of neighbouring Russia.

Speaking alongside Schwarzenberg, Belarussian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov sounded an upbeat note.

"The respected minister gave an invitation to the president to participate in the summit. In the coming days we will work to ensure this summit is a success," Martynov told journalists.

Russia has strongly criticised the Eastern Partnership as dividing Europe, forcing the states to between Moscow and Brussels.

Belarus has been a close partner of Russia and has established a formal "union state" arrangement with its giant neighbour, on which it depends crucially for gas and oil supplies.

 

Date created : 2009-04-17

COMMENT(S)