Poland set to help Belarus preserve independence – MPs

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A political advance or cold calculation? To bring diplomatic bridges, the Polish parliamentary delegation visited the Belarusian capital. On Thursday the MPs met with representatives of civil society in Belarus. Will the talks have any impact on the future of the Polish-Belarusian relations?

According to opposition, the visit is nothing but an advance for the Belarusian authorities.

“Of course, we were discussing whether such bold steps by the Polish government and the Polish Parliament towards the Belarusian authorities were reasonable,” Alyaksei Yanukevich, Chairman of the Belarusian People’s Front, says.

Independence above all

Several participants of the meeting believe that Russia’s annexation of Crimea, its intervention in Donbas and aggressive rhetoric in general have led to the rethink of policies in the region.

“According to the Polish delegation, these days they are focusing on the issue of they devote to the preservation of the independence of Belarus. So, they will be seek different ways, including cooperating the official regime,” Yury Hubarevich, deputy chairman of the movement ‘For Freedom’, says.

The representatives of opposition parties, movements and human rights watchdogs repeatedly stressed that the Belarusian authorities’ words never meet their deeds. As an example, they mentioned the formation of parliamentary election commissions – not a single oppositionist has been enrolled as a member, which may imply the current preparations for the next fraud.

“We ask for one thing. Lukashenka and his associates will tell you a lot of stories about. But you should judge them by actions, not by words,” Stanislau Shushkevich, the first leader of independent Belarus (1991-1995), addresses the Polish MPs.

Poles will not betray democracy

But the attempt to have a dialogue with the Belarusian authorities does not mean any shift in their attitude to a democratic society in Belarus, the Poles state. The delegates from Warsaw said their stance on the issue remained unchanged, Belarusian opposition leaders told Belsat.

“We touched the question of supporting Belarusian independent educational projects in Poland,” Pavel Sevyarynets, co-chairman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party, says.

After the talks in Minsk, the Polish MPs were about to meet with ethnic Poles and Polish businessmen who invest in Belarus’ economy. One of the goals of the meetings is to learn about the situation in Belarus straight from the source.

Yury Salodki/MS, Belsat

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