Belarusian Foreign Minister in Warsaw

Belarusian Foreign Affairs Minister Siarhiej Martynau is on a visit in Poland to respond to the Polish government's having called its ambassador to Warsaw for consultations.

Martynau was invited by Polish FM Radoslaw Sikorski to directly discuss the problem of persecution of the Polish minority by Belarusian authorities.

Repression against the Union of Poles in Belarus has intensified significantly over the past days. On Monday, the police entered the Polish House in Iwieniec, home of the organization run by Angelica Borys, and seized the property. Several days earlier, a court imposed a high fine on Angelica Borys' company.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski said he hoped Sikorski would seriously tackle the issue of persecutions with the Belarusian Foreign Minister.

"This should be the first and major subject of their meeting. If any other topics are to be discussed too, they should come only after the most important issues are cleared up," said Pawel Wypych of the presidential chancellery.

Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Piotr Paszkowski assures that the question of persecutions of the Polish minority by Belarusian authorities will be strongly emphasized in the meeting of Polish and Belarusian Foreign Ministers. "Our relations with Belarus depend of course on how fundamental rules in treating Polish minority in Belarus are observed," he said.

Yesterday, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that the Belarussian Foreign Minister won't hear anything pleasant from the Polish FM.

"On one hand, it is in the interest of Poland and of Poles living in Belarus, to involve Belarus in the European game. That's why we are trying to convince Belarus to behave typically for the European political culture, but at the same time we have to be able to react, sometimes very decidedly, when things go wrong. Unfortunately, now is also the time for harsh words," said PM Tusk. He added that on this issue the presidential and premier's chancelleries speak with one voice.


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