Uladzimir Kobets, a coordinator of European Belarus civil campaign, took part in the prestigious GLOBSEC-2012 transatlantic forum.
The forum focusing on global security was held in the Slovakian capital, Bratislava.
The event was opened by Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico. The forum was attended by President of Slovakia Ivan Gašparovič, President of Croatia Ivo Josipović, Presidnet of Slovenia Danilo Türk, Foreign Minister of Slovakia Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic Alexandr Vondra, European Commissioner Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle, ministers, members of parliament and representatives of non-governmental organizations.
Among the themes discussed during the Forum, a Belarusian issue was raised. The theme of Belarus was often mentioned by speakers as an example of violations of fundamental human rights.
“The EU cannot just watch while people continue to be kept in prison, because sanctions are the only expression of what the EU thinks. We expect Minsk firstly to free all political prisoners, secondly to rehabilitate them and thirdly to start a dialogue with the civil society and modernization,” former deputy foreign minister of Slovakia Milan Ježovica said.
Uladzimir Kobets said: “History knows no examples of transformation of a dictatorship into a democracy. It was popularly explained by Gene Sharp. That’s why it’s important to keep the principled approach to the Belarusian regime. The common agreed approach of the EU countries proves its efficiency – the dictator mustn’t have any illusions regarding an opportunity to come back in 2010. We already saw it and all steps forwards Lukashenka were misinterpreted by him. Visits by Europe’s top politicians, the Minsk Forum, a loan from the IMF and other moves were followed by the events on December 19 and the repression. Modernization is very important for a new democratic Belarus, but modernization of companies belonging to puppet businessmen means conservation of the regime. What really can be done today is lifting the visa regime for Belarusians.”
The global security forum is held in Bratislava and attracts participants from the NATO members states and representatives of other countries – the Near East, North Africa, Russia and Ukraine. Representatives of governments and NGOs discuss serious issues of global security and work out solutions to security problems. Official representatives of Belarusian dictatorial regime cannot take part in the event. Belarus is represented only by civil society activists.
Information about the release of Belarusian prisoner of conscience and presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov appeared on the last day of the Forum. The news was instantly spread among forum participants. Many of representatives of the countries that had been applying serious pressure on official Minsk seeking the release of Sannikov for all 18 months of his imprisonment, offered to regard this as an achievement of the Forum.
Владимир Кобец (Vlad Kobets) и Робин Шеррард (Robin Shepherd) – Senior Fellow, Central European Policy Institute
Владимир Кобец (Vlad Kobets) и Алаа Мурабит (Alaa Murabit) – Founder & President, The Voice of Libyan Women Org