Relations between Poland and Belarus Authorities Aggravated Again: Belarusian Ambassador to Poland Recalled to Minsk

2006 2006-04-03T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Belarus officials claim Ambassador Pavel Latushka has been recalled for consultations and will soon return to Warsaw. Andrei Papou, spokesman of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, states that the Ministry does not comment on the recall of Pavel Latushka from Warsaw. He also refused to speak on the present state of relations between Belarus and Poland. RFE/RL reporter asked a question whether that was connected with the fact that the President and other leaders of Poland received the leader of the Belarusian opposition Alexander Milinkevich. Papou replied: “The President of Poland just as a president of any country has the right to meet with any private persons. Our President also receives different private persons almost every day. So let the President of Poland do whatever he likes”.

Alexander Milinkevich has his own opinion about the present relations between Belarus and Poland: “I just came back from Warsaw. I spend there the whole day, meeting the President, the head of the Senate, and the prime minister. Really a great tension can be felt. Firstly, because former Ambassador of Poland to Belarus Mariusz Maszkiewicz had been beaten and jailed. Secondly, because another Polish diplomat had been beaten in Hrodna. Now he is in very bad condition, there is even a life threat. That has exhausted the patience of the Poles. That’s why really there has never been such a great tension in the relations between Poland and Belarus”.

Mr. Milinkevich does not think that the diplomatic relations between Minsk and Warsaw will be broken. That would harm everybody. In his opinion, the relations will normalize only if the official Minsk demonstrates the desire to improve them. However, now there are no signals of that.

Alaksei Karol, representative of Belarusian Social Democratic Party Hramada, believes the relations between the two countries have become complicated because of the open position of the official Warsaw on the unfair presidential election in Belarus. The Polish side was first to express its open and harsh position.

Andrzej Paczobut, representative of the non-recognized Union of Poles of Belarus, also links the aggravation of the relations between the countries to the presidential election: “Now Poland is leading the campaign of international support for the Belarusian opposition. Certainly, this is quite a nervous reaction of the Belarusian side. We, Belarusian Poles, feel that very well: I, and Andrzej Pisalnik, and other activists were arrested and found themselves in the jail cells together with the activists of the candidates’ teams. That is the evidence that the authorities put us on the same footing as the opposition and treat us similarly”.

Andrzej Pachobut is convinced that repression against the Polish minority in Belarus is an additional ground for anxiety of the official Warsaw. The Belarusian side does not need friendly relations with its western neighbor, believes Pachobut.