In deadly earnest: “Judicial and electoral systems of Belarus are independent”

In his interview to Russia’s RIA Novosti the Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey conveyed his deep outrage over the fact that the EU’s blacklist includes not only top officials but also judges, state-controlled media journalists and members of electoral commissions.

“In my view, these lists are a hopeless mixture of absurdity and insinuation,” Uladzimir Makey said. “It is clear that there will probably be no movement forward without taking this problem off the agenda of our relations with the European Union,” he stressed.

The Belarusian Foreign Minister criticized the European Union for including Belarusian journalists, judges and members of election commissions in its blacklist. “Okay, they blacklisted officials who were performing their functions and could, in the opinion of the European Union, have been responsible for some steps that were taken by authorities,” he said. “But what do journalists who were performing their mission and obeying their conscience have to do with this? Thus is also true of the inclusion of representatives of election commissions of all levels and judges in those lists. The judicial and electoral systems of Belarus are independent.”

When asked what an “ideal relationship” between Belarus and the EU would look like, Mr. Makey said that Belarus wants to have equally close ties with all surrounding countries. “No matter what neighbours we have: the East, the West, the North or the South. We would like to be respected and not demonized,” he said. “At present, we’re literally dragged through the mud for the tiniest sin”.

More than 243 Belarusian citizens, including Makey himself, are currently subject to travel bans and the same persons plus 32 business entities are subject to asset freezes within the EU for their role in human rights violations in Belarus and support of the current regime. Uladzimir Makey was blacklisted while he was serving as head of the Presidential Administration. In August 2012 Makey was appointed to the position of Foreign Minister instead of Siarhei Martynau, who was not on the EU’s blacklist.

Belsat, following BelaPAN