No round table talks without releasing political prisoners

Belarusian Christian Democratic Party accepted president Lukashenka’s proposal to hold round table talks with the EU, Russia and Belarusian dissidents, but only if the regime releases all the political prisoners.

Yesterday, Aleksander Lukashenka announced he wants to begin a dialogue with the opposition, to work out a solution for the Belarusian economic crisis. „The idea itself is a good one, of course. We have been waiting for it for last 17 years. But Sannikov, Stakievich, Vus, Dashkievich and other political prisoners should be able to sit at this table. However, as long as they are held in prison, there is no way a round table will be held“ – Paval Siavierniets, one of the leaders of Christian Democrats wrote in an official statement.

Siavierniets thinks that during the round table talks it should be to negotiated how Lukashenka will step down from power and how a new government will be created. „Negotiations are always a better solution than confrontation. However, everyone needs to understand that at this point the priority is to release all the political prisoners, and than transfer of power“ – said Vital Rymashevski, another Christian Democratic Party leader.

„If Lukashenka’s statement is honest and it’s not just another empty promise, it means that the regime is coming to an end soon. It was the round table called for by Jaruzelski 20 years ago that started the transformation in Poland. I believe that during round table we will talk both about the economic crisis and free and open elections.“ – said Aleksey Shein from Christian Democratic Party leadership.

The European Union has also responded to Lukashenka’s offer. German MP Marieluise Beck stated that a dialogue with Belarus can only be held after all the political prisoners are released. „If president Lukashenka invites for round table talks, we can only applaud it. But representatives of the opposition should participate in it too, and now – as we all now – majority of them is held in prison“ – said Beck.


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