Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has criticized the Belarusian government after a group of Polish politicians was denied entry into the country. On February 21, 2012 six delegates from the parliamentary Committee on Liaison with Poles Abroad were to visit Horadnia where they intended to meet with members of the Union of Poles in Belarus.
The Polish Sejm’s Committee on Liaison with Poles Abroad will make an inquiry with the foreign ministry about the activities of Belarusian lawmakers on the territory of Poland, Adam Lipinski, chairperson of the Polish parliamentary committee, stated.
The scheduled meeting eventually took place in the city of Sokulka on the Polish territory. Participants discussed the difficult situation of the Polish community in Belarus and of the UPB and also issues relating to education and the issuance of the Pole’s Card (Karta Polaka), Wojciech Ziemniak, deputy chairperson of the committee, said.
According to UPB Chairperson Anżelika Orechwo, she and seven other representatives of the Union of Poles in Belarus as well as the Polish consul in Horadnia took part in the meeting. The Belarusian authorities do not want Polish lawmakers to meet not only with the leadership of the UPB but also but rank-and-file activists, who could tell them about their daily problems, Ms. Orechwo said.
The Polish foreign ministry described the denial of entry for the Polish lawmakers as evidence that Belarus was not a democratic country. In her turn, Maria Vanshyna, head of the Belarusian MFA’s press office, said that the delegation had failed to notify «the Belarusian side» of the planned visit and had actually wanted to make it in secret.
On February 22, 2012 Minister Sikorski revealed that he had been aware that Belarus had a list of Poles who are not allowed into the country, but that Minsk had not disclosed who was on that list, a factor which «makes politics difficult.» Sikorski reaffirmed that dialogue between the two governments is ruled out under the present circumstances. «Unchangingly, we call upon the Belarusian authorities to free all political prisoners, then dialogue will be possible,» he said.