Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (17 November) before flying to Minsk:
I am looking forward to attending the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Minsk Forum and supporting dialogue between Germans and Belarusians.
People sometimes forget that Belarus is a country at the heart of Europe. We want to have stronger and better relations with this country. This has been difficult on occasion in the past and it won't always be easy in the future either. But over the last two years, the EU and Belarus have taken cautious steps to move closer together. We want to continue supporting this process, particularly in the run-up to the EU’s Eastern Partnership Summit next week. Of course we see that there has to be more progress in the field of democracy and human rights. This is something I will address in talks with my interlocutors in Minsk.