22 September 2017, Friday, 20:11

Andrei Sannikov: Do not believe Lukashenka


Demarcation of the border with Ukraine starts 17 years after the treaty on that was concluded.

Over this period Lukashenka tried to derive a maximum benefit from the authorities of the neighbouring state. Charter97.org website was informed about that by the leader of “European Belarus” civil campaign, a former deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Sannikov.

- The agreement on demarcation of the border between Belarus and Ukraine was signed on May 12, 1997. Why the issue of its ratification by the Belarusian “parliament” has extended over such a long time?

- It could have been called a detective story, but we know known the way the Belarusian regime behaves. The treaty on border demarcation was really signed back in 1997, it was immediately ratified by the Ukrainian parliament. But as long as importance of this treaty for Ukraine was obvious, and Ukraine started conducting a policy of closer cooperation with the European Union, Lukashenka realized he can prey on that. So the whole story of ratification of this document by Belarus extended over 16 years.

I talked to several ministers of foreign affairs of Ukraine on the subject, I argued that Lukashenka would not allow his pocket “parliament” ratify this agreement, as he is going to bargain with Ukraine, pushing for increasingly greater concessions. And it happened this way. First there were debts, which had been found by Belarus allegedly, and Belarus refused to consider this document before the matter resolved. Then other problems came up.

Eventually, last year the official delegations of Belarus and Ukraine exchanged ratifications of the law on the state border. Being an outcast, Lukashenka is constantly trying to demonstrate his importance, and that other states receive him. So this move, the exchange of ratification instruments, was linked to his visit to Kyiv. And even after that no practical moves for demarcation of the border with Ukraine took place.

I would like to emphasize the importance of this treaty for Ukraine. If the country wants to have relations with the European Union, it should have no border disputes. Even without considering some strategic objectives, it is easier for the state to take some decisions in the foreign policy with the borders formally established.

- After the exchange of the ratification instruments in June last year, quite a long time has passed again. Why it is now that Lukashenka has signed the decree on the border demarcation?

- It is another spectacle on order to show that he is allegedly trying to help Ukraine. In reality, even the meeting of the contact group in Minsk is used by Lukashenka in order to promote his own and Russia’s interests, not in the slightest the Ukrainian ones. In particular, at this meeting he assists Russia in recognition of the terrorists, who are fighting against the Ukrainian state in the east of the country.

If I was walking in the shoes of the Ukrainian leadership, I would not take into account the gestures made for the public, but I would give consideration to the dictatorial nature of the regime and its serving Russia’s interests.