Tuesday 23 August 2005

Growing tension between Belarus and Poland

In Short:

The arrests of members of the Polish minority in Belarus are an indication of the growing fears of President Lukashenka that Poland will support the opposition.

Brief News:

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenka has ruled for eleven years, and the dictator would dearly like to win the upcoming elections in 2006. However, last year's 'orange revolution' in neighbouring Ukraine, which was supported by Poland, has led to growing tension between Minsk and Warsaw.

Recent weeks have seen the expulsion of Polish diplomats and the refusal of entry into Belarus of a group of Polish MEPs, led by European Parliament Vice-President Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, who intended to inspect the conditions of the Polish minority in the border area. Members of this minority have been arrested. The MEPs intend to start independent radio and TV broadcasting directed at the Belarussian public.

An open letter signed by a group of elder statesmen such as Vaclav Havel and Richard von Weizsacker has recently called on the EU and the US to back the democratisation of Belarus.


Press articles

UPI: Belarus' cuddly Stalinist dictator

Figaro: Loukachenko veut mater les Polonais de Bielorussie

Der Standard: Polen als Testfall

Europolitan: Lukaschenko schottet Wei?russland ab

Novosti: Belarussian border guards turn back European Parliament members