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They exchanged views on cooperation between the EU and Belarus and follow-up to the Eastern Partnership Summit, held in Brussels last November. They discussed the advanced state of play on negotiations of new, tailor-made Partnership Priorities between the EU and Belarus and agreed to accelerate their swift finalisation, which would be an important building block for bilateral relations, including on financial assistance.
The meeting was an opportunity to discuss human rights and fundamental freedoms. The High Representative/Vice-President reiterated that tangible steps taken by Belarus to respect universal human rights, including on the death penalty, are key for shaping future relations. In light of reports of new executions conducted in Belarus, as well as death penalties upheld by the Supreme Court, Federica Mogherini stressed the reasons for the European Union's strong and unequivocal opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances and underlined the importance that Belarus introduces a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step to its abolition.
The High Representative and the Minister also discussed the need for full transparency and cooperation on nuclear safety issues, in particular on the new nuclear power plant under construction in Ostrovets.
High Representative Mogherini reconfirmed the European Union's commitment to a stable, democratic and prosperous future for Belarus, for the benefit of its people, and will continue to work with all stakeholders towards this goal. The EU is launching a first country-wide communication campaign focusing on the benefits of EU-Belarus cooperation for the Belarusian people and highlighting concrete results of EU-funded projects in the fields of economic growth, energy efficiency and health.