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Georgia 'Concerned over EU-Belarus Tensions'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Mar.'12 / 14:28

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on March 23, that it was watching with “concern” further worsening of “tensions” between the European Union and Belarus.

The Foreign Ministry released a statement following a decision by the European Union to strengthen “restrictive measures against those responsible for the repression of civil society” in Belarus by adding another 12 persons and 29 companies to a blacklist of around 200 who are already banned from travelling or accessing assets in the EU. Belarus responded by saying that it does not “see any necessity" for return of ambassadors from EU-member countries, who have been withdrawn from Belarus by their countries in late February.

"Georgia believes that maximum efforts must be urgently carried out aiming at intensification of bilateral diplomatic dialogue and direct contacts for avoiding further escalation of tension and for finding ways of tackling existing issues," the Georgian Foreign Ministry in the statement.

It said that deepening of EU’s ties with its Eastern Partnership states - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine – was of huge importance for Tbilisi.

In September, 2011 when Warsaw hosted the Eastern Partnership summit, snubbed by Minsk, President Saakashvili said that without Belarus EU’s initiative for six former-Soviet states “will not be a full-fledged partnership.”

Saakashvili said on the sideline of the Eastern Partnership’s summit in Warsaw in September, that it was “very bad” that the Belarus representatives were absent and called on the EU not to let Russia to seize an initiative in respect of Belarus. “It is very important for the EU not to lose control over this process and not to [allow] another great neighbor [referring to Russia] to seize this process,” Saakashvili said.

After meeting with his Polish counterpart, Bronislaw Komorowski, in Batumi in July, 2011, President Saakashvili called on Europe not to turn its back on Belarus, saying that isolating this “very European nation” will pave the way for the Kremlin to gain “complete control” over Minsk.

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