Prospects of development in relations between Belarus and the EU depend on the degree of independence of its policy from the policy of the US towards Belarus, said Alyaksandr Lukashenka at the meeting with British investors in Minsk.
“Prospects of our relations with the EU do not lie in the area s Europe-Belarus. They are to depend on the degree of independence of the EU policy from the policy of the US towards Belarus”, Lukashenka said.
The leader of the state has also said: “As for the relations with the EU, I believe the European Union understands well what is going on around Belarus, and has the right understanding of the role of Belarus in Europe”. In this connection he “Belarus is a very important link for the EU”. Lukashenka has explained that in particular the country serves as an important thoroughfare via which energy resources are transported to the EU from Russia. He reminded the guests that around 20% of gas and 40% of oil transit delivered by Russia to Europe go through Belarus. “This places us among the most important partners of the EU,” A. Lukashenka stressed, noting that the EU had never had problems with Belarus.
“Belarus has never failed Europe. And we would like to be treated in the same way,” he said.
A. Lukashenka has particularly noted that the development of bilateral economic relations of Belarus and Britain is essential for the both states. He expressed certitude that “after the stable advance in the economy everything would be settled in the political sphere”. “Moreover, I don’t think Britain has any claims to Belarus in the political field. We, definitely, don’t have any towards the United Kingdom,” Alyaksandr Lukashenka added.
As said by Lukashenka, “there are no problems in trade and economic relations” between Belarus and the United Kingdom. The leader of the state noted that Belarus exports a lot to Britain, and it proves good prospects of Belarus at the “demanding market of this country”.
According to A. Lukashenka, the United Kingdom could take the top position in the volume of investment to Belarus. “Last year the volume of investment of the United Kingdom to Belarusian economy was about 800 million dollars. It’s a huge sum,” A. Lukashenka stressed. He expressed gratitude to British investors for their offers and assured them that all agreements would be “implemented rigorously and as soon as practicable”.
Note of the Charter’97 press-center: Alyaksandr Lukashenka hopes in vain that the EU would save him from the US sanctions imposed against his regime for disagreeing to release political prisoners. Back in November 2006 the European Union made 12 proposals of the EU on democratization of Belarus. One of the main proposals is a release of political prisoners. Over the whole period of time the EU firmly stated that it’s not going to back out of this document and without the 12 recommendations being accepted by Minsk normalizing of relations between the official Minsk and Europe is impossible. In case Lukashenka has forgotten about the 12 recommendations of the EU, we would like to remind that the European Union urges the Belarusian authorities:
1. respect the right of the people of Belarus to elect their leaders democratically – their right to hear all views and see all election candidates; the right of opposition candidates and supporters to campaign without harassment, prosecution or imprisonment; independent observation of the elections, including by Belarusian non-governmental organisations; their freedom to express their will and have their vote fairly counted;
2. respect the right of the people of Belarus to independent information, and to express themselves freely e.g. by allowing journalists to work without harassment or prosecution, not shutting down newspapers or preventing their distribution;
3. respect the rights of non-governmental organisations as a vital part of a healthy democracy – by no longer hindering their legal existence, harassing and prosecuting members of NGOs, and allowing them to receive international assistance;
4. release all political prisoners – members of democratic opposition parties, members of NGOs and ordinary citizens arrested at peaceful demonstrations or meetings;
5. properly and independently investigate or review the cases of disappeared persons;
6. ensure the right of the people of Belarus to an independent and impartial judicial system – with judges who are not subject to political pressure, and without arbitrary and unfounded criminal prosecution or politically-motivated judgements such as locking-up citizens who peacefully express their views;
7. end arbitrary arrest and detention, and ill-treatment;
8. respect the rights and freedoms of those Belarusian citizens who belong to national minorities;
9. respect the rights of the people of Belarus as workers – their right to join a trade union and the right of trade unions to work to defend the people’s rights;
10. respect the rights of the people of Belarus as entrepreneurs to operate without excessive
intervention by the authorities;
11. join the other nations of Europe in abolishing the death penalty;
12. make use of the support which the OSCE, the EU and other organisations offer to Belarus to help it respect the rights of its people.
The EU stands ready to renew its relationship with Belarus and its people, as soon as the Belarusian government demonstrates respect for democratic values and for the basic rights of the Belarusian people.