Foreign Ministry: Fire in one hand, water in other

At the moment Alena Kupchyna, Belarusian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, is staying in Brussels for “talks with the leadership of a number of European institutions”, the press office of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry reports.

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), it was Alena Kupchyna who refused to register Belsat’s correspondent office in Minsk. Then the Ministry’s official referred to our contributors’ alleged law violations. Thus, it was the third time that Lukashenka’s regime had turned our application down.

At the same time, a conference is to be held at the European Parliament on April 9 to assess the efficiency of the EU’s program called the European Dialogue on Modernization with Belarus. The conference was organized by the European People’s Party and the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Belarus.

The conference is expected to feature Polish MEP Filip Kaczmarek, who chairs the Delegation, Gunnar Wiegand, the European External Action Service’s director for Russia, the Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and the OSCE; Almar Brok, chairperson of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs; Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski; and Jacek Protasiewicz, Vice President of the European Parliament.

Belarus is to be represented by Aliaksandr Milinkevich, chairperson of the Movement for Freedom; Valyantsin Stefanovich, deputy chairperson of a human rights organization Viasna (Spring); Volha Stuzhynskaya, head of the Brussels-based Office for a Democratic Belarus; political analyst Andrey Yahorau; Anatol Liabedzka, chairperson of the United Civic Party; Aliaksey Yanukevich, chairperson of the Belarusian Popular Front; and opposition activist Franak Viachorka.

It is to be recalled that since 2011 Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey has been on the list of persons taking responsibility for human rights abuse and repressions against opposition and civil society in Belarus. Those on the black list are subject to a travel ban and a freeze of their assets within the European Union.