Well-known public figures of Belarus insisting on dialogue
“Meeting with the officials at different levels we have seen the positive attitude towards the European March and readiness to support the proposals of the European Union .If the authorities and democratic forces come to the compromise that will help us in starting the dialogue which is so demanded by the society. People require freedom, predictability in the economy and political life. We hope that the appeal of the European March organizing committee sent to the deputy head of the president’s administration Natallia Pyatkevich will get the positive response, the march will be held peacefully and result in the dialogue for the sake of democratization of our country”, declared extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador, former minister for external economic relations Mikhail Marinich.
Making assessment of the current situation in the counter former head of the national bank of Belarus professor Stanislau Bagdankevich characterized the state of the Belarusian economy as “close to critical”.
“I consider that the country is facing a serious economic crises .Now it is not evident but its essence is in the growing deficit of the trade balance .As of today we have exported USD 2 billion worth goods less that imported. It means that we live not on the earned money along with receiving large Russian subsidies through discounted prices for delivered gas. The IMF assumed that if the government continues insisting on the refusal of reforms the payment balance deficit will annually comprise 7-8% GDP. It is to be covered by outside borrowings. And by 2011 the external debt will exceed 50 % of the GDP. As of 1 July this year the total Belarusian debt comprised USD 9 billion and its development trend is threatening. Under these conditions our golden and cash reserves are mostly virtual. They are formed on the account of external borrowings. But the healthy growth of reserve may be provided only by positive trade balance and direct investment into the economy. Today we offer the authorities cooperation in economic sphere. They seem not to notice the aggravating problems, the financial “bomb” we are sitting on”, Professor Bagdankevich declared.
In such situation, according to international coordinator of the Charter’97, former deputy foreign minister of Belarus Andrei Sannikov, the authorities have to accept the proposals of the European Union as they can really help in improving the economics situation.
“I would like to stress that we do not only notice that the propagandistic and ideological direction of the regime has changed for support of the independence of the country. We are greeting that. But we also notice what happens to people managing enterprises, directors, managers. They are in a very hard position and see the way out only in developing of relations with Europe, in adopting regular world standards which are followed by the whole world but several countries including, unfortunately, Belarus. We sent a letter to Natallia Pyatkevich offering her a meeting for discussion of the joint holding of the European March. The letter was sent a week ago, the reply has not come, yet. That is why we disclose the text of the letter to the public. Pyatkevich’s reception confirmed receipt of the letter”, the diplomat remarked.
Deputy Chairman of the BNF Party, Professor Yuri Khadika paid special attention to the fact that the policy of the dialogue with the authorities is supported today by all the democratic forces in the country.
“All organizations represented in the political council of the united democratic forces without exception support our group’s initiatives. We notice that the present-day authorities borrow and use ideas and thoughts of the opposition which they presented 5 and 15 years ago. For example, “For Belarus!”- The slogan proposed by the BNF in 1991. In the dialogue with the authorities we are not going to avoid the tough issues but we admit the positive trend in their approach towards promoting the independence of the country. We shall not only confront the authorities but talk to them. The ideas proposed by us are beneficial both for the authorities and the Belarusian people”, Yuri Khadika declared.
The subject of the benefit of the dialogue for the authorities was expanded by head of the organizing committee of the European March, deputy chairman of the BNF party Viktar Ivashkevich.
“I spoke recently to one of the influential Russian journalists who dislikes Lukashenka. He criticized our intention to persuade the authorities in the necessity of the dialogue. I asked about other possible ways out of the situation. He answered: the coup d’etat committed by the officials. Yes, there is such a way out. But I would like to call the authorities for thinking. The democratic elections may result in 30 or 40 % vote for the authorities, maybe more. After that they may occupy their places in the political life of the country. But the coup d’etat committed by the officials under the supervision of the Russian secret service may have a lethal result! That is why the authorities have to understand that the dialogue means the developing life but the coup d’etat means the end”.
International coordinator of the Charter’97, former deputy foreign minister of Belarus Andrei Sannikov is going to Brussels soon for organizing a support campaign of the European March by the European structures.
“I am going to have talks with the officials of the European Union responsible for the policy of relationship with Belarus. I think, the European March is a reply to the European Union appeal to Belarus. As the EU commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner mentioned the 12 proposals of the EU are addressed both to the authorities and to the people of Belarus. She also mentioned that the Belarusian government had taken no serious steps. That is why the march will be a reply of the Belarusian people. There are a lot of people supporting the European development direction of Belarus. There are a lot of young people willing to live in the European country”, Andrei Sannikov declared.
Dwelling on the letter to deputy head of the president’s administration Natallia Pyatkevich he remarked:
“Letter to Natallia Pyatkevich is only one aspect of our work. Each of us does his job. We meet with people, discuss problems. Really, today the official structures widely support such development of events. Confrontation was useless both for the authorities and the opposition. That is why we offer the dialogue and the peaceful European March. I call the press for supporting the European March; the concept of the dialogue .It is not only the dialogue of the authorities and the opposition. It is the way out of a deadlock. It is the chance to change our life, our country’s destiny”.
Distinguished Natalia Vladimirovna,
We are writing to you on behalf of the organizing committee of the European March which is to be held on October 14, 2007. We would like to offer a meeting to discuss the issues of organizing and holding the March. Please, appoint the meeting at your convenience.
The initiative of holding the March emerged as a result of the opposition’s aspiration to assist closer relations of Belarus and Europe. The state institutions have repeatedly expressed concern about consolidation of the European oriented policies, which has also stipulated the initiative. As demonstrated today by the official view point, a general understanding of the ways for the development of Belarus is being formed in our country. We still have different views on many basic issues, but these controversies may not necessarily lead to a conflict within the Belarusian society. Today we have an opportunity of transforming this confrontation into a fruitful cooperation, of finding the common points that can assist further development of our country.
The views of the state and the opposition on the necessity of strengthening of the country’s independence are alike. Both the state and the opposition have done much for that. The opposition has been emphasizing the need to preserve the independence not only for the Belarusian people, but for the support of European values and for the maintenance of the international peace. The authorities in their turn have been sustaining Belarus’ actual economic independence.
Both the opposition and the authorities agree that the cooperation with Europe gives many opportunities to Belarus, including elimination of the economic difficulties that the country can face after the prices for energy supplies grow.
Both the state and the opposition agree that the new neighborhood policy of the European Union should not contradict Belarus’ concerns, which regards visa prices, combat of the organized crime and other essential issues of the cooperation with united Europe.
There are more aspects that the opposition and the authorities agree on. This is a matter of the Belarusian people’s fate, not the interests of the opposition and the authorities. Hence we cannot but notice this historic coincidence.
As upholders of the European oriented policy consider, the future of Belarus is closely linked with the European Union. Thus the sooner the country starts moving towards Europe, the more efficient the attempts made by the state to increase the well-being of the people will get.
There is a moment in life and history of every nation when making a decision is unavoidable: personal, political and historic decision. Such decision demands courage and sincerity and can be made today.
The idea of negotiating on the future of our country is a positive one. It can be supported by responsible and intelligent people. An official reply to the proposal of a dialogue still hasn’t been given. An agreement on mutual and peaceful demonstration in support of European values can become an actual start of the dialogue.
Just imagine, Natalia Vladimirovna that a peaceful demonstration in support of the European future for Belarus is being held in the center of our wonderful city on October 14. People come in high spirits; nobody is afraid of pointless provocations or violence demonstrated by the people in uniform. People come with their families as Europeans to the center of the European city of Minsk. European celebrities are invited to hold a real European event together with Belarusian artists in front of the National Library… This is what we would like to see during the European March.
We realize that this proposal puts you in a delicate situation since in no country is an official allowed to make decisions without appropriate sanction. Nevertheless, we hope that in our message you will find a chance for Belarus, for all of us. We could discuss details of the issues mentioned and the plans of holding the European March at a meeting with you.
We hope for a favorable reply.