17 January 2018, Wednesday, 4:24

David Kramer: Makei should remain on blacklist


The dictatorial regime in the centre of Europe poses a threat.

Freedom House President David Kramer spoke with ru.DELFI news agency about the deadlock in the situation of Belarus: political prisoners are still in jails, no real reforms were carried out, the parliamentary elections were a joke. There is no new vision of what should be done with Belarus, he says. Kramer thinks many questions will appear about Belarus's participation in the summit of the Eastern Partnership  in Vilnius scheduled for November.

In his opinion, the international community should cooperate with NGOs, not with the Belarusian government.

David Kramer said Belarusian foreign minister Uladzimir Makei should remain on the list of Belarusian officials banned from entering the EU.

The Freedom House president says the Belarusian dictatorship poses a threat to stability and security of the whole region.

The European regime in the centre of Europe is a threat to the European vision of the free world, Kramer says. Lukashenka sells weapons to rogue states, including Iran and Syria. This is a treat to security both because of absence of democracy and improper behaviour of the regime, David Kramer thinks.

Lithuania's relations with Belarus are especially difficult, because it borders with Belarus, Kramer notes. He recommends that Lithuania should minimise contacts with Belarus's high-ranking officials and maintain contacts only with civil society and opposition representatives.

The Freedom House president says only stronger pressure on the Belarusian authorities can release political prisoners, while Russia's position has a negative impact on prospects of changes in Belarus, because the Russian leadership is not interested in these changes preferring to deal with the devil they already know.

David Kramer thinks the pressure on Belarus is insufficient now. He recalls his work in the Department of State in the George Bush Administration in 2006-2008, when sanctions on Belarus were imposed. The sanctions were introduced by the US and the EU in 2006, but only the US imposed sanctions in 2007 and 2008. Kramer thinks the US found Lukashenka's vulnerable spot and more pressure should be applied to Belarus to release political prisoners. He stressed the policy of carrot would hardly lead to the release of political prisoners.

David Kramer reminded that Alyaksandr Kazulin was freed after imposing sanctions and cited Andrei Sannikov and other politicians, who call on slapping tough sanctions.