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Belarus says EU sanctions harm both sides

(Xinhua)

08:38, October 16, 2012

MINSK, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The decision by the EU Council to maintain existing sanctions against Belarus hurts both sides, Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said Monday.

"Today's decision by the EU Council effectively freezes our relations at a level that is objectively not in the interest of either side," Savinykh said in a statement posted on the ministry' s Web site.

"The Belarusian side will not succumb to pressure. We do not see this policy on the part of the EU as compatible with good- neighborly relations. The two sides can overcome their current differences only by moving toward each other," the official said.

Savinykh urges the European Union to stop thinking in terms of sanctions and make efforts to restore an atmosphere of mutual confidence.

"The Belarusian side declares that it is a matter of principle to be open to a constructive and respectful dialogue with the EU, and that it is ready for joint work to that end," the official said.

The Council of the European Union decided on Monday to extend the EU sanctions against Belarus until October 31, 2013.

According to the Council, "not all political prisoners have been released and none of the political prisoners has been rehabilitated amid the absence of any improvements in the sphere of human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles."

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