Vilnius major denied Belarusian visa

2011 2011-12-15T17:52:15+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

opposition members.

As charter97.org website has been informed by a chief of the international affairs department of Vilnius Zilvinas Abaravicius, this spring Vilnius mayor planned a visit to Astravets, where a Belarusian nuclear power station is being constructed.

He was invited there by the head of Astravets district Adam Kavalko during his visit to Vilnius. A large Lithuanian diaspora lives in this district, and Arturas Zuokas wanted to meet his nationals as well.

However, when Zuokas started to plan his visit to Belarus, the Belarusian Ambassador to Lithuania Uladzimir Drazhyn started to persuade him not to go to Astravets. The diplomat assured upon oath that a conference on nuclear power engineering issues would be organized in cooperation with the Energy Ministry of Belarus in Astravets in summer, and that the mayor would be certainly invited there. However, no conference was held in Astravets.

Finally, in November the mayor intended to go to Belarus, to the near-border village of Herviaty, invited there by a local Lithuanian community.

But the Belarusian Embassy denied a Belarusian business visa for Arturas Zuokas. He was said that he needed an invitation from official authorities. Eventually, the mayor applied for a tourist visa, but he has not even received an answer from the embassy.

As noted by the head of the international affairs department of Vilnius town hall, Zilvinas Abaravicius, he also applied for a Belarusian visa. On this weekend he was to make a speech at a self-government conference in Minsk.

Bear in mind that on 21 October Vilnius Mayor met with the leaders of the Belarusian opposition and wives of political prisoners.

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