European Parliament president critical of situation in Belarus

European Parliament Jerzy Buzek on Tuesday criticized the Belarusian government's crackdown on opponents, noting that pressure on activists of the country's ethnic Polish minority was part of a wider trend.

Mr. Buzek, who represents Poland in the European Parliament, made the remarks after his meeting with former presidential candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich and Andzelika Borys, leader of the so-called unofficial Union of Poles in Belarus, in Brussels.

“To Poland, the Polish community in Belarus is of greatest importance. But if we want to solve the problem we should approach the matter from a wider perspective,” Polish media outlets quoted him as saying.

“We need to talk about the threats to democracy and democratic liberties for all the independent organizations. The prisons are full again [in Belarus] and this does not only include short-term arrests of the representatives of the Polish minority but regular imprisonment of activists of the Belarusian opposition,” he said.

Mr. Buzek said that the European Parliament would adopt a resolution on Belarus after a more thorough study of the situation. He expressed hope that the European Parliament’s delegation would give an impartial assessment of the situation in Belarus following its February 25-27 visit to the country.

The European Parliament originally planned to adopt a resolution on Belarus on February 25 but the Parliament’s Social and Communist groups blocked the vote, saying that it should be adopted after the delegation’s visit, Polish Radio said.

The European Parliament may adopt a resolution on Belarus at a session in Strasbourg between March 8 and 11. //BelaPAN