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European Parliament warns Minsk against recognizing Abkhazia, South Ossetia

Kyiv Post -- Should Belarus recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia a barrier will rise that will block the country's access to the European Union's new program for Eastern European and South Caucasus countries - the Eastern Partnership Project.

The recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia's independence will be a serious barrier to Belarus' access to the Eastern Partnership project, chief of the European Parliament's Committee for International Affairs Jacek Saryusz-Wolski told Belarusian, Moldovan, Russian and Ukrainian reporters in Brussels on Thursday.

The European Union does not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia's independence, and expects the same from those who would like to cooperate with the EU, he said.
Saryusz-Wolski also said that a delegation of the European Parliament would travel to Minsk in April to meet with the Belarusian leadership and opposition leaders.

European parliamentarians want to asses the situation in Belarus, given that the EU will have to decide in mid April on the sanctions, currently suspended.

The sanctions will be either suspended again, or re-imposed on Belarus, he said, noting that the sanctions are unlikely to be now lifted.

Saryusz-Wolski said the country's membership in the Eastern Partnership project will depend on whether Minsk will be prepared to improve the human rights situation.

"The situation has been improving in Belarus. The question is, however, to what extent Belarus is ready to fulfill the terms on democratization and human rights,' he said.

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