“Heroes of revoluntions in Eastern Europes are proud of their role in making the world a better place and are speaking about the necessity to be steadfast to principles, but it is forgoten as far as Belarus is concerned,” the leader of “Eurpopean Belarus” told in Halifax.
The First International Security Forum in North America was held in Halifax, Canada. Political elite from around the world gathered for the forum. Global security challenges and problems faced by the Trasatlantic community: non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, nuclear arsenals reduction, the future of the NATO, the situation in Iran, Afghanistan and other totalitarian countries, including Belarus, modern piracy and defence of ports, swine flu, were discussed in Halifax.
At the international forum our country was represented by “European Belarus” civil campaign leader Andrei Sannikov and the head of “We Remember” foundation Iryna Krasouskaya.
Andrei Sannikov was a host speaker at the session “The Fall of the Wall: New World or New World Order”.
Andrei Sannikov with Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay
The session was hosted by James Appathurai, the NATO Spokesman, with participation of Eimert Van Middelkoop, Minister of Defense of the Netherlands; ambassadors of Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, leading world analysts and journalists.
“I said that with the fall of the Berlin Wall the world undoubtedly changed. And Belarus has made no less significant contribution to this world than other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. However, not many people now remember the names of our great contemporaries and freedom fighters Vasil Bykau, Ales Adamovich, not many understand the meaning for the new world of such personalities of the modern Belarusian history as Zyanon Paznyak and Stanislau Shushkevich. Their contribution to Europe’s history could be considered at least equal to that of Lech Walesa or Vaclav Havel. The first mass rallies against totalitarianism were held in Belarus a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the onset of the Velvet Revolution in the Czechoslovakia. Our country was the first one to cancel deployment of nuclear weapons voluntarily without any conditions. However Belarus soon faced huge difficulties on its way to the new world. We are forcibly held in the old world with its old ideology, contempt to rights and freedoms of people, a totalitarian political system. We are still remaining behind the Berlin Wall, and it is not only our fault. Today some Europeans are trying to forget their own past and apply to Belarus the policy which had been keeping them in the state of servitude,” the leader of “European Belarus” in an interview to charter97.org.
Andrei Sannikov with James Appathurai, the NATO Spokesman, and German journalist Christian Wernicke
As said by Sannikov, politicians from America and Europe are unlikely to believe that supporting dictatorships could lead to freedom, democracy and respect to human rights. However, such “Realpolitik” is used in relations with the last dictator of Europe Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
“Heroes of revoluntions in Eastern Europes are proud of their role in making the world a better place and are speaking about the necessity to be steadfast to principles, but it is forgotten as far as Belarus is concerned, and terms which are close to “Realpolitik” notion are used. It means that not respect to human rights, but “practical insterests” are made the cornerstone in the relartions with our country,” the Belarusian politician said.
The world has changed radically actually, and it needs a new global order, Andrei Sannikov is convinced. But this new global order could be based only on values, and not on up-to-the-minute interests of lobbying groups in some states.
“No complex problems could be solved either in Afghanistan, or in Iran, or in North Korea, if such double standards would be practiced tested in Belarus,” “Europeran Belarus” leader believes.
With Minister of Defense of the Netherlands Eimert Van Middelkoop
At the forum in Halifax Iryna Krasouskaya, a widow of the businessman and public leader abducted in Belarus, the leader of “We Remember” foundation, told about unending repressions against opposition, the denial of the authorities to make democratic reforms and investigate cases of the abducted and murdered opponents of the regime. Finally, Sannikov noted, participants of the session “The Fall of the Wall: New World or New World Order” discussed mostly the situation in our country.
At the Security Forum in Halifax, a panel discussion “Pandemics: Public and Private Preparedness” was dedicated to the problem of swine flu pandemics.
It is known that the situation with swine flu sickness rate is carefully hushed or dosed by the state. In Halifax the issues of the pandemics were discussed at a very high level. For instance, Alexander Garza, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Francis Delon, Secretary General for National Defense of the Office of the Prime Minister of France took part in the discussion. It shows how seriously the state takes issues of its citizens’ health. Leadership of France and the US decided that not only Helath Ministries, but agencies involved in home security issues should participate in prevention of the swine flu aftermaths. The most important thing during such epidemics is the question of objective information. Objective information and constant communication of health agencies with mass media helps to inform people what should be done first, and evokes trust to the authorities, Andrei Sannikov underlined.
At the Forum in Halifax Andrei Sannikov and Iryna Krasouskaya met with a number of influential politicians from America and Europe.
Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay stated that Canada can and should do more for supporting democracy in Belarus. The politician underlined that he personally knows Ivonka Survilla, the Chairperson of the Belarusian People’s Republic, he met with her and highly values her activities. MacKay is sure that the world community must be more principled towards the situation in Belarus.
A former presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, in his conversation with Andrei Sannikov and Iryna Krasouskaya stated that he was not forgetting about Belarus; he constantly follows the events in our country and supports freedom fighters.
Andrei Sannikov and Iryna Krasouskaya with John McCain (archive photo)
Ruprecht Polenz, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Parliament, noted that he is concerned with the fact that Lukashenka is trying to ignore the opposition in Belarus totally. To his mind, it is unacceptable, and to speak about some changes would be possible only in the case when the democratic opposition would influence the situation in the country.
With Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Parliament Ruprecht Polenz
David J. Kramer, who is well-known in Belarus, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Senior Transatlantic Fellow for the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said to Belarusian politicians, that he continues to monitor the situation in Belarus closely. Kramer highly appreciated the recent visit to the US of the BPF leaders Lyavon Barshcheuski and Vintsuk Vyachorka. As said by him, contacts of the Belarusian opposition with US state and non-governmental institutions should develop.
Andrei Sannikov and David Kramer
Organisers of the forum in Halifax were the German Marshall Fund of the United States in cooperation with Canadian government. The forum gathered leading politicians, senators, congressmen, public leaders, businessmen, analysts, journalists from America, Europe, Asia and Middle East. The forum was opened by the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay. Eimert Van Middelkoop, Minister of Defense of the Netherlands, Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg, Minister of Defense, Germany; Pieter De Crem, Minister of Defense, Belgium; defense ministers Nelson Azevedo Jobim (Brazil) and Gabriel Silva Lujan (Colombia), Wayne Mapp (New Zealand), Ellen Tauscher, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security of the U.S. Department of State; Senators John McCain, Mark Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Parliament Ruprecht Polenz, and others.
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States Craig Kennedy and Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay