Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey has expressed his indignation at Francois Hollande’s version of the Normandy Four talks in Minsk which took place in February, 2015.
As reported earlier, the Ukrainian magazine Tyzhden published fragments of Lessons Of Power, the book by the former French president. Inter alia, Hollande recalled his participation in the negotiations on the settlement of the armed conflict in Donbas.
According to the former French leader, in the course of the talks the Belarusian side treated the participants to awful sandwiches; the venue (Palace of Independence) was ‘soulless’. The politician also disliked the fact that Vladimir Putin slept in a separate room, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and him had to sleep in armchairs.
Interestingly, the Belarusian Foreign Minister returned the compliment in an interview with TUT.BY.
“Yes, since we did not serve oysters, snails, frogs’ legs, pigeons, Mr Holand might not have liked the food. But in general, I must say that about $50,000 were allocated to [the participants’] meals for just one day and night period.”
“Apparently, Hollande had in mind that the modern palace in Minsk is not as pompous as his former residence – the Elysee Palace. Well, I’m sorry, but in contrast to France, the country taken by Nazis for less than a month, which preserved almost all its palaces, churches, cathedrals and other historical monuments during the Second World War, Belarus and Minsk were in ruins after four years of resistance.
That is why, whatever one may think of it, we always consider this palace a symbol of Belarusian sovereignty and independence, and it should be treated with due respect.”
“Individual rooms were offered to all the leaders, but in different places – in Zaslaul, in a hotel or somewhere else. We suggested they go and rest for a while, but the heads of states refused saying they would continue negotiations.
I cannot emphasise enough that a politician must be objective, sincere and honest. Perhaps, the French who spotted Mr Hollande’s lack of these qualities, made their conclusion, and he took into account his low popularity at the time and decided against another run for president.”