Makey vs Bildt: No prisoners of conscience in Belarus?

There are no political prisoners in Belarus, Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey stated when being interviewed in Vilnius.

So called political prisoners are being kept in jails for ‘specific crimes’, Mr Makey stressed, adding that in other countries they could have been sentenced to longer prison terms.

At the same time, he expressed his confidence that if those prisoners filed petitions for pardon, those applications would be considered and a positive decision would conceivably be taken. The European Union’s sanctions against Belarus should be lifted otherwise no progress in talks is possible, Mr Makey said. ‘There should be a dialogue,’ he said.

According to Mr Makey, by setting preliminary conditions, such as the release of political prisoners, the EU worsens the atmosphere of the dialogue. ‘I believe that …the dialogue should be maintained without setting any conditions,’ he said.

Meanwhile, today Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt declared that the European Union`s stance on Belarus had not changed. ‘Our demands are the same—the release of the political prisoners and democratization,’ Mr. Bildt said.

‘Mr Makey knows what should be done,’ he said. ‘I think that it is possible for him to influence the decision-making process’.

Belsat, following BelaPAN

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