Belarus’ situation stable, stagnant, European MP says 11:42, 04/02/2005
The current situation in Belarus may be regarded as stable or stagnant, lord Fred Ponsonby of the United Kingdom, member of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PACE)`s ad hoc Working Group on Belarus told reporters in Minsk on February 3.
Mr. Ponsonby said that the situation in the country has been basically stable in the last two years. He noted cooperation and good relations between PACE and Belarusian parliament.
However, he added, many aspects of life in Belarus have not improved.
Belarusians still face serious problems. In particular, they cannot freely express their opinion, Mr. Ponsonby stressed.
According to him, PACE’s working group should double its efforts on informing the international community about the situation in the country.
He said that Belarus cannot but be influenced by changes in the neighboring countries: enlargement of the European Union, the presidential election in Ukraine and the dynamic economic situation in Russia.
Gabor Hars of Hungary noted that despite certain stability in Belarus, no democratization is taking place and the human rights are violated. He expressed confidence that PACE should continue a dialog with Belarus.
Uta Zapf of Germany, leader of the delegation, also stressed the need for close cooperation with the country. She noted a deterioration of the situation in Belarus but stressed that Belarusians should work themselves on their future.
The delegation, which also includes France`s Paul LeGendre began its visit to Minsk on February 1.
It met with Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov, House of Representatives speaker Vladimir Konoplyov, Deputy speaker Sergei Zabolotets, Deputy Justice Minister Vitaly Kalugin, opposition figures and representatives of non-governmental organizations.