Belarusian officials implicated in violation of the rights of Belarusian Poles have been banned to enter Poland since February 16.
This decision was taken on February 15 during the meeting of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski (VIDEO).
First secretary of the Polish Embassy in Belarus Pawel Marczuk confirmed this information to charter97.org in the morning February 16. According to him, the list of the Belarusian officials banned from entering Poland hasn’t been made public yet.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski hopes the EU, OSCE, Council of Europe and other institutions to take decisive, consistent and above all effective actions to help the Polish national minority in Belarus.
Journalists learnt this on February 15 from Wladyslaw Stasiak, the Chief of the Chancellery of the President, after a meeting between Kaczynski and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, BelaPAN reports.
As the press service of president’s office reports, Stasiak said the parties had discussed the steps that “should be taken immediately”. “We need to take the measures appropriate for the situation and convince our partners the situation is very serious and the crisis has to be settled as soon as possible,” the official said.
The chancellery chief noted: “Repressions against the Polish minority haven’t weakened, but only tightened after visit of Belarusian Foreign Minister Syarhei Martynau to Poland on February 12.”
Kaczynski is going to send a letter to Alyaksandr Lukashenka saying about his personal interest in settling the issue. The president of Poland expects to receive information about development of the events and actions taken by the Belarusian authorities referring to our nationals.”
The Polish Foreign Minister said in turn: “Countdown for the negative scenario has been started,” Polish Gazeta Wyborcza reports.
Sikorski noted a decision of the Polish authorities banning the Belarusian officials implicated in violation of the rights of Polish minority to enter Poland takes force at night. According to him, the president approved the actions of the government.
The Polish Foreign Minister emphasized the Belarusian authorities had a chance to change their policy. If this doesn’t happen, “the window of opportunity will be closed and Poland and EU will impose sanctions on Belarus”.
As the press service of the Polish government reports, Prime Minister Donald Tusk had a telephone conversation with leader of the unrecognized Union of Poles Andzelika Borys on February 15. He said he kept in touch with EP President Jerzy Buzek. Tusk and Borys arranged to have another phone conversation on February 16.
Donald Tusk's spokesperson Pawel Gras has stated that the Polish government is waiting for an answer to the letter sent to Syarhei Martynau, Belarus’ Foreign Minister, after that “further steps” are to be taken. “If the answer won’t be positive, the situation can develop under different scenarios” he said.
As said by Gras, the most effective of them include actions not only by Poland, but the EU as well. He noted that the government is seeking for “an effective solutions which would be rather harsh for the Belarusian authorities, for the repressions to be stopped”.
On February 15 the Belarusian authorities detained the leadership of the Union of Poles in Belarus (UPB) headed by Andzelika Borys.
Borys was fined 30 basic units (Br1 mln 50 thousand), representatives of the organisation’s leadership Andrzej Poczobut, Ihar Bantser (Igor Bancer) and Myachyslau Yaskevich (Mieczyslaw Jaskiewicz) sentenced to 5 days of arrest for staging a rally in support of Ivyanets branch of the UPB in Hrodna on February 10.
The chair of Ivyanets branch of the independent organisation Tereza Sobal was charged with seizure of the local Polish House. The suit against Tereza Sobal was filed by the leader of the local branch of the pro-regime Union of Poles Stanislau Syamashka (Stanislaw Siemaszko).
About 40 activists of the Union of Poles were detained in different parts of Belarus of February 15. They were on the way to the court of Valozhyn district to support Tereza Sobal.
On February 11-12 Belarusian Foreign Minister Syarhei Martynau visited Poland. He was given a letter in which the Polish side informed what could be done for Belarus in case crackdown on the Polish minority in Belarus would be stopped. In case repressions continue Poland promised to impose sanctions.