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Belarus FM Makes First Official EU Visit Since 2010

Belarus Foreign Minister Uladzimer Makei
Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimer Makei is expected to visit European Union headquarters in Brussels on July 22.

It will mark the first such visit since EU sanctions were imposed on Belarusian officials after the disputed 2010 presidential election and subsequent crackdown on opposition supporters.

Makei, a former top aide to President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, had been on the blacklist of Belarusian officials barred from entering the EU.

But the EU recently lifted the visa restriction.

Makei will be attending a meeting of the EU's Eastern Partnership Initiative, at the invitation of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele.

Several presidential candidates who ran against Lukashenka, as well as other other opposition activists, were imprisoned following street protests claiming fraud in Lukashenka’s 2010 reelection.

Based on reporting by AFP and ITAR-TASS