20 January 2018, Saturday, 14:23

Anatol Liabedzka: Brussels play by Lukashenka's rules

Invitation of Makei to the EU only strengthens the dictatorship in Belarus.

Anatol Liabedzka, the chair of the United Civil Party (UCP), spoke to charter97.org about Uladzimir Makei's visit to Brussels.

“In my opinion, the problem is not the name of the official invited to Brussels. The problem is whether Brussels adheres to the principled position on the list of people subject to temporary restrictions. The decision to impose financial and visa restrictions on the people violating the country's constitution, laws and international obligations, was very important. Brussels must adhere to it. It means that exceptions to the rule cannot be applied to the people on the list. If an exception is stronger than the rule, it violates the very principle,” the politician thinks.

He is convinced that communication must exist in other forms: diplomatic channels, embassies in Minsk and so on.

“It gives an opportunity to talk to the Belarusian authorities almost every day. I think the invitation of Makei was a mistake. Everything now depends on his message and on the message Brussels prepared for the meeting. Makei is more a postman rather than a foreign minister. He brings the message from Lukashenka's administration. Whether it is a complete defeat of the EU foreign policy agencies or whether we can find pluses and minuses will depend on Makei's message and Brussels's message to Lukashenka's postman,” the UCP leader said.

He added that Europe's current policy only strengthened the dictatorship in Belarus.

“It looks now that official Minsk makes Brussels play by its rules. We see that the old strategy of small steps to the regime is returning. Two or five such steps can be made. The same strategy was already used in 2010, and the result was negative. Makei's message may say that all political prisoners can be released by a particular date and that official Minsk undertakes obligations to work out amendments to the electoral legislation in cooperation with the opposition to hold free elections in Belarus. If it happens so, we will be able to say that the strategy was right. But my forecast is that none of this will be happen. The best-case scenario is that Makei's message will contain such words and loans, euros and investments. In this case it will mean that Europe will repeat its mistake and get burnt again,” Anatol Liabedzka is convinced.

Belarusian foreign minister Uladzimir Makei takes part in the meeting of Eastern Partnership foreign ministers in Brussels. The International Federation for Human Rights organises a picket on this occasion.