Belarus says it's not Burma, wants some respect

Interview with: Yury Ambrazevich

After the panel was over, a game Yury Ambrazevich, Minister-Counsellor of the Mission of Belarus to the European Union, was interviewed by NEtv about the discussion and what the next steps might be for Belarus and the EU

We have just come out of the meeting with local authorities. Do you feel that West and the EU has unfairly portrayed Belarus?

-Yes, I can agree with you, that during at least 10 last years, we have been considered as a country which is quite different from what happened in all Eastern Europe. And I should say that the European Union considered Belarus as a country without democracy, without a respect of human rights. And of course, it is a problem, because now, the public opinion in Europe is oriented to this dogma. And we want to overcome it and we want to bring to Europe our new image. We want to show Europe that we've quite successful economy; we've quite successful country, which is much more closer to Europe than Europeans can:.

Does it hurt when the United States, for example, calls your president the last dictator in Europe? Does that harm relations?

-Yes, of course, it is humiliation for me, for Belarusian people, for our officials. We just not care much about such a characterisation. We are looking for concrete cooperation. We are not a Banana Republic. We have our economy, we have our population, we had:we have had for last eight years the growth of our GDP more than eight percent per year.

Belarus is an important transit country for energy for Europe

-Yes, it is very important not only energy partner for:, I mean in transit for Europe, but we also..we share more than 1,000 kilometres of borders with the European Union - with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. So it means that we are : we are neighbors and we should cooperate. And we are now doing this job on bilateral basis with these countries, not only in traffic : fighting against humans being trafficked, narco-traffic, but also in trans-border trade, investments, economies, projects etc. etc. We think that we can do much more than we have now and it would be benefit not only for Belarusian side, but it would be beneficial for our neighbouring countries and a European Union as a whole, because we are not begging for cooperation:you can see we survived all long the years of the European Union conducted its policy of ignoring Belarus.

Sanctioning and isolationism:

-Yes : and this is a really positive step of the European Union, that it renounced its policy in this direction; they re-orientated its efforts to more constructive cooperation with Belarus. Of course we are not satisfied that we are still facing this so called suspended sanctions, I mean in visa, but it has more psychological importance for us :. because it is a : you said it's a sign of humiliation of Belarusian officials, of Belarusian leadership. And we:

They put you in the same category as Myanmar, doesn't it?

-Yes : and Burma, you know it's impossible to compare countries : I mean, we are between Russia and the European Union. We are transit country for energy, for transport, for goods, for services, we are developing a relevant infrastructure; we are developing now a society and state. We will do without prejudice to cooperation with Russia, which is our strategic partner and we would like to have partnership relations with the European Union. It's done by God, by our nature.

Do you think that if you were not a transit country for the energy, but a source of major oil and gas supplies, would the European Union even be talking to you about human rights or other issues?

-Frankly speaking, you are not the first one who answered :.. about this idea : not idea, but situation. And I have read a lot of expert opinions on this issue and their response was positive. So I don't want discuss now the conditional situation and I think that now, we should work with what we have. And as we are a transit country we should develop this our natural resource.



Partners: Social Network