MINSK, 25 February (BelTA) – The total volume of consular and legal assistance provided in 2020 was 3 to 4 times more than in previous years, Belarus' Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said as he spoke at the board meeting of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 25 February to review of the diplomatic service in 2020. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko, BelTA has learned.
“The COVID-19 pandemic presented the consular service with unprecedented challenges in the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of citizens abroad,” Vladimir Makei said. The total volume of consular and legal assistance provided in 2020 (about 17,000 cases) was 3 to 4 times higher than in previous years (4,700 cases in 2019, 3,700 cases in 2018), requiring intensive efforts and unconventional approaches."
The minister stressed that thanks to the coordinated assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign institutions and the Belavia airline, more than 8,000 Belarusians were able to return home at the height of the coronavirus crisis from March to June 2020.
The entry into force of the new version of Belarus' visa rules , the visa facilitation agreement with the EU and the signing and ratification of the agreement with Russia on mutual recognition of visas were the landmark events of 2020, Vladimir Makei said.