“The European Union does not exclude that Belarus could become its member one day, certainly if it would be the desire of the Belarusians themselves,” said the British ambassador to Belarus Brian Bennett at the meeting with students of the Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU) in Minsk on February 25. He underscored that in addition to desire to join the EU, the country should also meet certain requirements of the organization. For Belarus to meet the EU requirements “it should walk a long way”, British ambassador believes. At the moment, he said, “we are dissatisfied” with the situation with human rights, mass media crackdown, shut down of newspapers and NGOs in Belarus, and by “very slow” reforming of economy. He also emphasized that the European countries, the Great Britain in particular, “would be happy” to share with Belarus their experience in the sphere of reforms, however, it is essential that such a desire should come from the country itself”.
An action of solidarity with Belarusian opposition was carried out by activists of the Amnesty International in Amsterdam on Tuesday. The protest was held in Amsterdam University. Stands with portraits of missing and logos of the youth resistance movement Zubr stood in the hall of the University. Human rights activists offered students to sign appeal to Alyaksandar Lukashenka with the demand to stop persistent violations of International Convention on civil and political rights. They paid special attention to violations of Articles 19, 21 and 22, where the freedom of expression and freedom of speech, right for peaceful assemblies and associations, including trade unions, are proclaimed. Besides, the students and professors were given information materials on human rights violations in Belarus, and about abducted politicians in particular. After collecting signatures, Amnesty activists threw parts of Lukashenka’s portraits on the floor and swept them away. On the next day the appeal with signatures of more than a hundred of students was sent to Lukashenka.
The general prosecutor’s office has reversed the decision on suspension of the criminal case against Iryna Khalip, deputy editor-in-chief of the “Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta” for publishing an article “Afghan Greyhounds” in the supplement “Dlia sluzhebnogo polzovaniya” (“Restricted”) of the newspaper “Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta” (BDG) a year and a half ago. In the article Khalip told about the details of the criminal case of the former concern “Belgospischeprom” president Viktar Kazeka and his son Andrei Kazeka, former head of sales department of “Kryshtal” company, who were accused of bribery and embezzlement of state property. Iryna Khalip is now a witness in the case of libeling of Viktar Sheiman, Prosecutor General. Iryna Khalip’s case is investigated by Viktar Feschenka, the gravest crimes’ investigator from Minsk prosecutor’s office.
Journalist Iryna Khalip was summoned to the city prosecutor’s office of Minsk for today morning at 10 a.m.. Yesterday after 8 p.m. law-enforcing agencies’ officers tried to enter her apartment, who produced a warrant for forcible arrest. After the reporter refused to follow them, she got a summons for today. It is probable that she can be arrested today.
Belarus has reached an understanding with Latvia under which Latvia will supply electric power to Belarus, an official of the Belenergo concern told Interfax on Thursday. The understanding was documented during Belenergo general director Sergei Belov`s visit to Riga on February 23-24. Although the exact amount to be supplied has not been specified, the official said it could be up to 200 million kilowatt hrs (kWh) a year. Belarus plans to purchase excessive amounts of energy that Latvian hydraulic power stations may offer during spring floods.