Mikalai Charhiniets Calls Belarusian Aithorities “to Adequately React to Disrespect of Belarus”
According to RFE/RL
On 9 November the member of the upper chamber of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus Mikalai Charhiniets summoned a press conference dedicated to the refusal of the US State Department to issue to him visa (he was going to take part in the UN Session as a member of Belarusian delegation).
According to him, the reason was that last year he used his participation in the UN mission for monitoring of the presidential election in the US, which didn’t correspond to his visa:
-- A year has passed and they suddenly remembered it. I understand, they took offence after my sharp speech at the UN where I, being a lawyer, managed to prove their criticism addressed to my country was false. They are also offended I pointed at the lawlessness of the attempts to continue the blockade of Cuba. And the main – being a member of OSCE mission I honestly executed my duty during the election monitoring, said M. Charhiniets.
According to him in the evening of 8 November he received a telephone call from the US State Department informing he could receive the visa in the case he signed the written undertaking not to exceed the powers of the UN session participant. Mr. Charhiniets, however, considers such condition insulting and unacceptable. He believes the State Department exceeds its powers by hindrance to his participation in the UN session and urges Belarusian authorities to act accordingly:
-- We must act by the rule: if they don’t recognize us – let us not recognize them, -- he stated at the press conference at the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
Let us remind, it is not the first time when Mr. Charhiniets is not let to US session in the US. In 1998 Aliaksandr Lukashenka ordered to forcibly evict some Western diplomatic missions from the settlement of Drazdy not far from Minsk. The ambassadors of those countries decided to protest and temporary left Belarus. The governments of several countries, including the US, declared a number of high Belarusian officials non-grata, Mikalai Charhiniets among them.
However, that time he managed to receive visa. According to the independent journalist Raman Iakaulieuski, it happened so:
-- Charhiniets tried to get to the UN session in New-York. At first he was refused visa. He was very offended and stated he was going to the US not only to take part in the UN session, but also in order to pass the documents about the American soldiers who disappeared without notice in Vietnam and Afghanistan. He showed to me these documents: photos and certificates – but didn’t explain where he took them from. I should remind he also fought in Afghanistan. He stated he wouldn’t pass the documents unless he received visa. By the way, the commission on search for the missing soldiers in Vietnam and Afghanistan still works in Moscow and he could pass the documents there. I think it is not a sign of high morality to put such ultimatum to Americans: either you give me visa or receive no documents.
The US Embassy still comments neither on its refusal nor on Charhiniets’ statement the visa can be issued on some conditions.