MINSK, 8 November (BelTA) – During his trip to Belarus Professor Edgar Weiler, the head of the Germany-Belarus friendship society, saw that the EU ban on air travel makes travel difficult and hampers humanitarian aid and cultural exchange, BelTA learned from the Belarusian diplomatic mission in Berlin.
According to Edgar Weiler, humanitarian projects such as Chernobyl initiatives, support for former forced laborers, and cultural exchanges have survived different political periods. Now they are almost completely discontinued due to the pandemic and travel restrictions.
Edgar Weiler is convinced that regardless of how political systems are assessed, cross-border family ties and friendships should not be unnecessarily complicated. Edgar Weiler views the ban on flights between Germany or the EU and Belarus as a disaster. In addition, the exclusion of Belarusian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) complicates payments related to travel and humanitarian work.
During Edgar Weiler's stay in Belarus, the Belarusian partners informed him that the EU sanctions made assistance from and cooperation with the Federal Republic of Germany almost impossible, especially in the humanitarian field.
According to Edgar Weiler, “the ongoing international developments” suggest that apparently the West still uses sanctions as the main instrument of its foreign policy, but it often returns as a boomerang.”
For example, Belarusian fertilizers have to be supplied in a roundabout way through third countries that charge high duties for this, and this affects German agriculture. The same applies to the ban on the export to Germany and the EU of wood and timber products, including inexpensive pellets.
Edgar Weiler is concerned that people in third countries are also affected by collateral damage. Thus, the ban on the export of Belarusian fertilizers has already triggered a sharp rise in prices on international markets and has become one of the causes of the food crisis and hunger in many African countries.
Edgar Weiler believes that the EU should revise sanctions against Belarus and drop them wherever undesirable negative consequences prevail. The Netherlands, for example, has done this recently in certain fields.