Andrei Sannikov: “Games of Europeans are not doing any good to democracy in Belarus”

A month ago the Council of the European Union suspended visa sanctions against Alyaksandr Lukashenka and a number of his officials.

Today a German-Belarusian conference “Neighbourhood and security: Belarus’ prospects in the EU” opens in Minsk. It has been organized by Berlin-based foundation “Science and politics” and German-Belarusian society with the support of the German Embassy.

The head of the political department of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union Helga Schmidt is to take part in it. She is considered to the main negotiator with the official Minsk on the part of Brussels. Helga Schmidt arrives after a recent visit of another European official, a deputy Director General of European Commission department on External relations Hugo Mingarelli, Radio Svaboda informs.

Yesterday Prime Minister of Belarus Syarhei Sidorski visited Latvia. What does this visit mean? A member of the European parliament Aldis Kuskis noted:

“There are no European officials in this issue. These are bilateral relations of the Prime Minister of Belarus to Latvian Prime Minister, and not vise versa”.

As said by Mr. Kuskis, the visit to the neighbouring country is not a sensation. For instance, Syarhei Sidorski’s visit to Portugal was a surprise. Besides, Aldis Kuskis noted that instead of the policy of isolation the new European strategy towards Belarus hasn’t been worked out yet. The countries of the EU do not have a common stand here.

“I believe that if nothing has changed in principle beside political prisoners, it means that the previous strategy didn’t work. It means that a new one should be created. It will appear. But I cannot say when”.

The leader of the civil campaign “European Belarus”, a former deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Andrei Sannikov stated that last month was very representative: the regime demonstrated that they do not want to stop political repressions.

“A political prisoner has appeared in our country. It is Barazenka. There were arrests of the Young Front members for anti-Communist slogans. The things demonstrated by the regime now are empty promises and a demonstration that there is no desire to stop political persecution in the country. So far there is no basis to say that some changes are taking place, or that something has agreed for changes to take place. Europeans are acting according to their strategy, which is founded on practical recognition of the authorities and on cooperation with them. And simultaneously they make some demands of democratization, respect for human rights. They are playing this game in that. But so far games of the Europeans are doing no good for democracy in Belarus,” Andrei Sannikov said.