20 January 2018, Saturday, 16:13

Miasnikovich wants EBRD to forget about political prisoners

The Belarusian PM suggest that the EBRD give up on the annual “political mandate” for its work in the country.

Mikhail Miasnikovich says the annual decisions made by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on its further work in the country prevent the bank from developing long-term projects in Belarus, Interfax reports.

“I'd like to suggest discussing the issue on the need of the bank's political mandate, a sort of a corridor, when the political and economic situation in the country is evaluated every year, when the bank annually takes decisions on its work in Belarus. It doesn't allow building a long-term strategy to develop our relations,” Miasnikovich said at a meeting with EBRD Vice President Andras Simor in Minsk on Tuesday.

The Belarusian PM noted the members of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers believed the cooperation opened great opportunities.

“Our minister of economy, Mr Snapkou, and first deputy PM Uladzimir Siamashka visit the bank headquarters in London and say every year with great enthusiasm about the cooperation prospects, but the prospects are actually modest,” Miasnikovich said.

The opening of a new EBRD office in Minsk will give the bank's management opportunities for closer working contacts with the Belarusian authorities, according to Miasnikovich.

“I'd like to suggest establishing close working contacts, not only official ones. I'd like to say that we will listen carefully to recommendations of the bank's leadership and managers,” the prime minister said.

Andras Simor said for his part the EBRD's mandate for its work in Belarus was “unambiguous: to contribute to the democratic and market-oriented transition in the region.” Andras Simor stressed the bank couldn't dictate the countries the pace of economic changes. Countries should take appropriate political decisions and move to economic reforms, while the bank supports their initiatives, but remains committed to its mandate, under which the bank contributes to private sector development, Simor says.

He noted the EBRD saw opportunities for expanding business in Belarus with the growth of the country's private sector. The EBRD vice president added the bank would welcome the wider privatisation of the public sector.