Thursday, 15 September 2005
By Robert McMahon
United Nations, 15 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has blamed the United States for causing global instability and manipulating the United Nations. Lukashenka told the UN summit that Washington is using a campaign on democracy and human rights to try to dominate other states.
The Belarusian president told world leaders the global balance has been disturbed since the collapse of the Soviet Union 15 years ago.
Lukashenka made it clear he holds the United States responsible for major disruptions to world order and seeking to maintain a unipolar world. He said U.S. foreign policy is aimed at undermining governments, a reflection of his concern at the recent democratization of former Soviet states.
"If there are no conflicts -- they are invented. If there are no pretexts for intervention -- imaginary ones are created. A very convenient justification has been found to do this -- democracy and human rights. Moreover these terms are not used sincerely -- as a power of the people and the dignity of the nation -- but they are used as the U.S. government sees it fitting," Lukashenka said.
Lukashenka said Belarus should be allowed to develop itself through "our own traditions."
The Belarusian president's speech was similar in many ways to the address yesterday of Zimbabwe's leader, Robert Mugabe. Both countries have been called "outposts of tyranny" by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and face increasing criticism from European states for crackdowns on human rights and political dissent.
They have responded by criticizing their accusers as meddling hypocrites.
Lukashenka said, for example, that U.S. actions in Iraq and its war on terror should be open to greater scrutiny. "Where are these weapons? They do not exist but Iraq is drowned in blood, torn apart, people are brought to the limits of desperation," he said. "Where is the open, independent, under the UN supervision court trial over the Guantanamo prisoners? How many are they and who are they?"
Lukashenka later signed a convention on suppressing acts of nuclear terrorism. He said in his General Assembly speech that Belarus voluntarily gave up its nuclear arms after the collapse of the Soviet Union and does not cause trouble for neighboring states.
Speaking at the treaty-signing session, he again warned against interference from major powers. "Combating terrorism universally must not serve as a cloak to cover selfish goals of certain countries. The banner of fight against terrorism must by no means be used as a pretext for interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign states," Lukashenka said.
Lukashenka faces presidential polls next year. His government has been tightening controls on independent institutions following popular movements that removed governments in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan.