Alexander Lukashenko welcomed today the Plenipotentiary ambassador of Iraq in Belarus Ahmed Abdulmajid Daif, whose mandate has just expired. The president of Belarus positively evaluated the present-day relations between Belarus and Iraq, underscoring that “over the past years a lot had been done in the bilateral relations, in economy included”. According to Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus and Iraq reached $300mln worth contracts and “had it not been for the US intervention in UN, the Belarusian-Iraqi relations would develop even more dynamically”. Alexander Lukashenko expressed desire to see sanctions lifted from Iraq, adding that “it would be very good for Belarus too”.
Belarus isn’t closed neither for France nor for Europe, RIA “Novosti” quotes Alexander Lukashenko as saying on Tuesday, accepting the credentials from the French ambassador Stephan Shmelevsky. Lukashenko expressed his regret that Europe, “having decided to shut doors for some Belarusian officials”, demonstrates lack of desire to fully cooperate with Belarus.
During the recent visit of the delegation of the Polish Justice Ministry to Minsk representatives of the Polish procuracy signed with their Belarusian colleagues Agreement on the fulfillment of the Treaty on legal assistance and relations on civic, family, labor and penal cases, signed by the two countries on October 26, 1994.
Opposition political parties and public organizations of democratic orientation drew their conclusions on the second stage of the electoral campaign – formation of territorial electoral commissions. Statistical data shows that there will be almost no representatives of the democratic wave in the commissions.
December 9 in Vienna there were supposed to take place the official negotiations between OSCE and Belarus concerning the OSCE AMG mission’s resumption of operation in Minsk, said on December 6 the Portuguese Foreign Minister and OSCE chair Antonio Martines da Kruz. Ahead of that the Minister received a notification from Belarusian Foreign Minister Khvostov reading that official Minsk “is ready to embark on the new official negotiations”.
On Tuersday 10 December will take place a picket line in front of the Belarusian embassy in Holland, organized by the Dutch branch of the Belarusian Center. On the Universal Human Rights Day the Belarusians of Holland will come to the gates of the Belarusian embassy to express their protest against violations of human rights there. They want to know the destiny of the disappeared people. They also demand immediate release of incarcerated journalists. Belarusians abroad insist on the free and honest parliamentarian and presidential elections in their homeland, Charter’97 press-center was told by the chairman of the Belarusian Center Pavel Radjuk.
On December 10, the Universal Human Rights Day Charter’97 organizing committee passed a decision to award the National human rights prize-2002 to the following people in the nomination “For personal valor”:
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov stated the necessity to pass the complex of measures on accelerating the Russian-Belarusian integration. “Russian and Belarusian experts grew more active over the past two months, whereas the presidents discussed in person the crucial integration issues,” – said Kasyanov at his Tuesday meeting in Moscow with the Belarusian Premier Gennady Novitsky.
Despite the disputes between the two countries in the year 2003 Russia will supply to Belarus more gas than in the current year. On December 10 the fuel and energy balance of the two countries will be approved at the session of the “union state’s” Cabinet of Ministers. On December 10 the heads of the government will also ratify the balance for the following year. Russia did favor to Belarus and increased by 1,75bln cubic meters the gas supplies. Although Alexander Lukashenko entitled his government “to buy gas better from the Arab states or America”, Russia still remains the main supplier. Next year Minsk will receive from Russia 18,5bln cubic meters of blue gas. “Gasprom”, just as this year, will ship 10,2bln cubic meters of gas at Russia’s prices for the frontier belt with Belarus (currently at $24 per 1000 cubic meters). The rest of the amount will be supplied by the commercial structures.
On Monday the “Sibneft” company officially announced the purchase of the Belarusian portion of “Slavneft’s” shares (10,8%) for $207mln. Analysts believe that this deal increases the chances of “Sibneft” to defeat its competitors at the forthcoming on December 18 Russian auction on selling 74,9% of the company’s shares. However, if this doesn’t happen, “Sibneft” may anyway earn around $77mln on its purchase.