Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier today (11 February) met with Sergei Martynov, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Belarus, at the Federal Foreign Office. Their talks focused on the development of relations between Germany and Belarus as well as between Belarus and the European Union. In connection to this, Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier made the following statement:
"I welcome the reform measures that Belarus has taken over the past weeks and months. What matters now is translating these initial steps into a lasting process of reform.
Further democratic reforms remain the precondition for a fresh start in relations between Belarus and the EU and for the complete lifting of sanctions. The upcoming launch of the EU's Eastern Partnership opens up prospects for Belarus as well. It is now up to the leadership in Minsk to seize that opportunity.
At the bilateral level, I am delighted with today's agreement, which will allow Belarusian children to continue to travel to Germany for recuperation. Finally, I welcome the fact that Belarus today became the 76th country to sign the statute establishing IRENA."
The visit by Foreign Minister Martynov was the first bilateral contact at this level for almost 14 years.
In the framework of their talks, the Ministers exchanged Notes on an agreement concerning trips for recuperation. On the basis of this agreement, children from Belarus will also in the future be able to travel to Germany for that purpose.
Moreover, during his visit Foreign Minister Martynov signed the statute establishing the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
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