The Council of Europe and Belarusian authorities will discuss on Thursday the introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty in the country, a spokesman for the organization said.
Belarus is the only European country that still endorses the death penalty. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has said Belarus must pass laws to abolish capital punishment before the county can be admitted to assembly sessions.
PACE gave Belarus "special guest status" in 1993, but froze the status in 1996 after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko changed the country's law, giving himself additional powers. PACE then cancelled the status over alleged election fraud in Belarus's 1997 presidential elections.
Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, has moved to rebuild ties with the West, freeing several political prisoners last year in line with EU demands.
In June 2009 PACE passed a resolution banning Belarus's participation as a "special guest" at PACE meetings until the death penalty was abolished.
Belarus passed death sentences on two of its citizens for separate crimes in 2009. One of the convicted men's mothers told Amnesty International in March she was informed by prison staff that both had been shot.
Abolishing the death penalty in Belarus should be followed by measures to set up a good penitentiary system in the country, the PACE official said.
MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti)