Polish ambassador calls for release and exoneration of political prisoners
The demands of the European Union and Poland remain unchanged.
The ambassador of Poland to Belarus reported that from the next week the embassy move to a new address Zmitraka Biaduli 11. The diplomats had to work in a tight building of the consulate in Krapotkina street for several months. This happened after the Belarusian authorities refused Poland to extend the rent of the former embassy building in the Rumiantsava street in Minsk, which has been used since the Soviet times, Radio Svaboda reports.
Leszek Szerepka called the Belarusian authorities to cooperate with the UN’s reporter on human rights in Belarus and claimed the unchangeable nature of the positions of the European Union and Poland regarding Belarus:
“The conditions do not change, the conditions remain the same. We expect that there are no political prisoners in Belarus and those political activists who suffered, to be exonerated and could take part in civic activities in Belarus. Poland fully supports these conditions and we are waiting for the Belarusian authorities’ actions“.
Speaking about the law level of bilateral relations, the ambassador admitted: “We would like to have better relations this would be to the benefit of both – Belarus and Poland. Being neighbors we should not turn our backs on each other”.
According to Leszek Szerepka, Belarus and Poland without any specific effort could double the goods turnover, but the problem lies in the general political and investment climate in Belarus.
The low level of political relations influences other issues, particularly the consular ones. In 2011 Polish consulates in Belarus issued 300 thousand visas in 2011, for 10 months of the current year it is already 294 thousand, the number is expected to grow up to 350 thousand till the end of the year, the ambassador informed.
“And it is all done without increasing the number of the consulates stuff members. The Belarusian party does not agree to increase the number of Polish consuls in Belarus despite all our requests”.
Leszek Szerepka admitted that Belarus is not interest in liberalization of the visa regime, in particular, does not react on the respective suggestions from Brussels, which were sent to Minsk in June last year.
According to the ambassador, since 2005 there has been no progress in liberalization of the activities of the Union of the Poles. An issue of property is also linked to that:
“Poland has built 16 Houses of Poles all over Belarus. Now they are not functioning the way they should have”.
Apart from that, the ambassador admitted, the Polish party cannot receive permission for exhumation and reburial of the remains of Polish partisans which lie straight in a field. The problem of the Belarusian list of Katyn victims has not been solved so far.