EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has urged European Union member states to support the European Commission`s proposal that the EU should temporarily suspend Belarus` benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences in response to violations of trade union rights.
Gazprom carries out talks with the Belarusian side on gas deliveries at a price of $200 per 1,000 cubic metres, Gazprom spokesperson Sergei Kupriyanov said to Echo Moskvy radio station. He noted that Gazprom is ready to include cost of Beltrasgaz shares into this price. As said by S. Kupriyanov, the talks are not very successful. “There is still no ground for optimism,” he told.
In 2007 Alyaksandr Lukashenka is expected to visit a number of Southeast Asian countries, India, Arab Emirates, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry is adjusting the dates of the visits now, told the deputy Foreign Affairs minister Viktar Hajsionak to BELTA correspondent.
A joint stock company “Cosmos TV” has decided to stop broadcasting TV channels CNN, Cartoon Network/TCM, Fashion and Hallmark, and cable channels Reality TV, Fashion and Drive. According to “Cosmos-TV”, these TV channels are not popular among the viewers. The enterprise refers to the results of an opinion poll.
Today during the interrogation a KGB officers of Hrodna regional KGB department seized a passport of Andzelika Borys, the chairperson of the Union of Poles in Belarus. Andzelika Borys is a member of the delegation which on December 11 is to go to Strasbourg where the leader of the United Democratic Forces is to receive the European Parliament’s Andrei Sakharov prize.
On December 6 a chairman of Hrodna city council Uladzimir Sauchanka agreed to construction of a new Roman Catholic church of the community of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn (of Vostraja Brama), Mother of Compassion. The permission was given in a letter to the bishop of Hrodna diocese Alyaksandr Kashkevich. It was stated in an interview to the news agency BelaPAN by the priest Alyaksandr Shemet. He believes that “a spark that appeared in Minsk during a protest action in support of the New Life church, belonging to the Full Gospel churches in Belarus, has reached Hrodna and won the fight against injustice”. As said by priest Alyaksandr, 16 participants of the hunger strike have stopped the protest.
At the session of the Council of the Belarusian Writers’ organization and the Council of the Belarusian PEN-center an appeal to the former presidential candidate, a political prisoner Alyaksandr Kazulin was approved. Today is the 48th day of Alyaksandr Kazulin’s hunger strike in prison. Writers urge Kazulin to stop the hunger strike of protest and demand the authorities to release him.
The EU notes absence of a progress in the problem of trade unions situation in Belarus. The EU experts are sure that the proposal to lift trade preferences under the GSP would be approved in December 2006. It is said in the official statement of the EU. At the preliminary talks on December 5 representatives of the EU member countries Lithuania, Latvia and Poland were against preferences lifting, while Italy decided to support that move.
Today is the 48th day of Alyaksandr Kazulin’s hunger strike. “You have to give him credit; Alyaksandr Kazulin is a fearless and forceful man, as he perfectly understands that he injures his health. Kazulin sacrifice himself for the sake of democracy victory in Belarus, he sacrifices himself to demonstrate problems in Belarus. It’s an act of bravery which is to stay in the contemporary history of Belarus; it’s a symbol of struggle for the rights of the Belarusian nation. One cannot but admire Kazulin’s heroic deed. Thanks to such people our Belarus would revive,” said a former political prisoner, a leader of entrepreneurs Valery Levaneuski in an interview to the Charter’97.
On December 19-20 full-time ambassadors of the countries members of the Council of Europe are to get back to consideration of the issue of temporary expelling of Belarus from the list of countries enjoying benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a European Commission representative in Belarus and Ukraine Fabiola di Clemente said to Prime-Tass. On Tuesday a working group of the EU experts approved the decision to withdraw benefits under the GSP from Belarus.
On December 5 officers of the court seized property of a republican public association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” (BHC), which includes a computer, a fax and other equipment. According to the news agency BelaPAN, the property of the public association was distrained under a decision of the Supreme Economic Court in the case of taxation of money received in the framework of the TACIS programme.