Belarus said today it would welcome the return of European Union ambassadors once the bloc, which has introduced a series of sanctions against Minsk over its human rights record, adopts a more 'constructive' policy. Earlier this week, the former Soviet republic told EU ambassadors withdrawn by their capitals not to bother returning after the EU announced a new round of sanctions targeting Belarussian businessmen and companies. However, seeking to soften the tone of its message, the Belarussian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it had not declared EU ambassadors unwelcome. 'When the European Union finds the way to constructive dialogue, we will be ready to see EU countries' ambassadors in Minsk where they will be able to perform their direct diplomatic duties,' spokesman Andrey Savinykh told reporters. Belarus's message telling EU diplomats to stay away increased its diplomatic isolation and marked a new low in ties with the West. The United States has not had an ambassador in Minsk since 2008 and runs an embassy on reduced staff. The 27-member bloc withdrew its envoys on February 28 as relations with Minsk continued to slide following President Alexander Lukashenko's crackdown on the opposition after his re-election for a 4th term in December 2010. 2 opposition leaders who ran against him are still in prison, convicted of causing mass protests, and other opposition figures are now prevented from leaving the country. Since Lukashenko came to power in 1994, he has tolerated little dissent and jailed opposition leaders. Brussels has threatened more sanctions unless Minsk starts freeing political detainees. EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels last week also condemned Belarus as the last European country to use the death penalty, following the execution of 2 men earlier this month for the bombing of Minsk's metro system last year.