Today one of the leaders of the European coalition “Free Belarus” Zmitser Barodka was summoned to the Barysaw branch of the KGB (State Security Committee) by phone. A man who introduced himself as a KGB officer, told that he would like to talk about the activities of Zmitser Barodka and his “group” in Barysaw. That person had not explained what he meant by the word “group”. Z. Barodka told that he is ready to come to the KGB only after receiving a writ. “It could be connected to the protest rallies against vote fraud at the elections and referendum, that took place in Minsk in October, and in which lots of Barysaw dwellers took part. I know, that for instance in Zhodzina police still continues to exert pressure against the participants of those demonstrations,” told Zmitser Barodka to the Charter’97 press center.
Belarusian information Minister Uladzimir Rusekevich told in the interview to Interfax that the possibility of Russian channels broadcasting termination is not considered in Belarus. “The state structures do not have such an idea so far, and the population has not been expressing such proposals yet. What for should we terminate re-broadcasting when nobody would watch them anyway soon, if they continue to take the same position”. In this connection Rusakevich blasted the policy of Russian TV channels in covering the events in Belarus. “They called the events after the Belarusian referendum repressions. And how are they covering the events in Ukraine? How can a Belarusian viewer react to that? Because of this bias they are losing audience”.
Standing in the opposition "tent city" occupying the centre of Kiev draped in a banned pre-Soviet white and red Belarussian flag, 44-year-old street cleaner Stanislav Kuchinsky smiled with delight. "I would be arrested in five minutes if I went around with this flag back home. I wanted to come here and breathe freedom," he said, glancing around with amazement at the crowds of young people milling around.
Australians, French and Poles can be seen mingling enthusiastically with the "orange revolutionaries" in Kiev, but for citizens of ex-Soviet Belarus the heady atmosphere in Ukraine`s capital is an especially intoxicating rush.
A famous American political scientist, former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski believes that the Ukrainian revolution would soon spread to Russia, Belarus, Moldova, former Soviet republics of Transcaucasia and Central Asia.
The regional head of a US pro-democracy programme said Monday that the peaceful mass protests over rigged presidential elections in Ukraine should inspire democratic change in neighbouring Russia and Belarus.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka told that his country “had not supplied a single item of weapons to Iraq”. “We had never violated international law. We had not delivered a single item of weapons to Iraq, though we could do it. The Western companies were doing it. It is proved already,” he told in his interview to Arabian TV channel “Al Arabia” .As said by Lukashenka, “the Belarusian arms were not found, while there were plenty of the Western arms and technologies found”. That is why, he observed, the West “should look for the reason and roots of this question in one’s own country”.
The United States of America views with growing concern the increasing attacks against independent civil society in Belarus. The U.S. has spoken out several times over the past two years against the systematic effort by the Lukashenko government to stifle independent voices in the country. The situation since the October elections, themselves patently undemocratic, shows this repression is growing. While the Belarusian government couches its repressive acts in a legal framework, it is clear these actions are being directed against Belarus’ few remaining independent voices for political reasons.
(bnn)- The Belarusian foreign minister on Monday adamantly rejected calls from Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe members for democratic reforms in his country and said the OSCE ought to be reformed instead.
Belarus made no attempt to interfere in Ukraine’s affairs, said Aleksandr Lukashenko in his December 6 interview with the Al Arabia television channel. “Even when I came there on the 60th anniversary of Ukraine’s liberation [from the Nazi occupation], I was there briefly, thanked the Ukrainian people and left the same evening,” official information sources quoted the Belarusian leader as saying.
Aleksandr Lukashenko has accused the United States of using human rights issues as a pretext for meddling in Belarus’ affairs. “If Belarus were moving in the wake of the US policy, we would face no criticism,” official information sources quoted him as saying in a December 6 interview with the Al Arabia TV channel. “Since Belarus has ventured to conduct independent foreign and domestic policies not in word but truly in deed, this boldness is punishable. But one should first find a pretext to punish [Belarus] for disobedience. So they have been playing the hackneyed human rights card.”
The foreign minister of the Netherlands, which currently holds the rotating European Union (EU) presidency, noted that the 25-nation bloc “remains concerned about developments in Belarus” but still considers that “there is a place for a democratic Belarus in the European family of nations.” While speaking at Monday’s session of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Sofia, Minister Bernard Bot urged the “Belarusian authorities to start developing good relations between the government and civil society in a constructive manner, using the available assistance of the OSCE.”
According to Colonel Gennadi Shvarov, commander of the missile and artillery forces of the Belarusian armed forces, the negotiations are underway and Iskander-E systems with the range of up to 280 kilometers would soon be supplied to one of the two missile brigades, which have Tochka-U tactical missile systems in their arsenals. "The matter doesn`t concern replacement of the systems," he stressed. (...)
The authorities in the Dzerzhinsk district, Minsk region, have refused to grant re-registration to a local community of the Full Gospel Christians, a move that Pastor Nikolai Kozel links to his political activities.
The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) may consider increasing the maximum admissible amount of foreign capital in the country’s banking sector, which is currently 25 percent, NBB deputy head Nikolai Luzgin said at an international banking conference that opened in Minsk on December 6.
According to Mr. Luzgin, foreign companies express their discontent with the restriction and sometimes do so at talks about Belarus’ accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The volume of trade between Russia and Belarus will exceed $15bn in 2004, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Razov declared at a round-table meeting on integration in the former USSR in the State Duma. According to Razov, the highest level of cooperation in the ex-USSR has so far been achieved in the Union State of Russia and Belarus. Cooperation is developing in many sectors, especially with regard to defense, economy, security and migration policies, the deputy minister pointed out. "What is a short-term target for cooperation of Russia with other countries, has either been started or is being prepared in the Union State," Razov said. According to the official, the Union of Russia and Belarus "is an important testing ground and an integration model," which can be used by other republics of the former USSR. Razov added that a regular meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Union State would be held before the end of 2004. As reported earlier, the volume of trade between Russia and Belarus reached $12.5bn in 2003.