Belarus leader lashes out against "dishonest" West


Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, at a meeting on Friday, launched a harangue about the West, accusing Western politicians of prevarication and scheming to provoke unrest in his country and claiming that Polish and German secret services had co-plotted riots in Minsk in December in protest against alleged election rigging.

"The West, America? [They] are impossible to talk to. They are dishonest people - they say one thing and they think something else," Lukashenko said during a meeting in Minsk, Belarus' capital, with heads of Russian media groups.

He cited visits to Belarus by the German and Polish foreign ministers shortly before December's presidential election, a poll that drew riots in Minsk because of its alleged rigging.

"Just ahead of the election two ministers of foreign affairs asked me to receive them all of a sudden. I says there's something wrong about that, I can't see why they are coming," the president said.

"They were talking on, holding a peaceful conversation - we see what you want, we support you," he said. "They came and now I know why - they needed to lull me."

"It was a scenario. I would never have thought that those punchups [post-election riots] were possible in our country, where the fifth column [opposition] are 800 people and 400 militants who exist in Minsk on foreigners' money alone," Lukashenko said.

He claimed that the Belarusian authorities had been liberal about registering presidential candidates, about letting foreign observers into the country to monitor the election, and about the organization of voting. "We had lifted restrictions on entry - go ahead, come here and watch," he said.

He also flatly denied allegations that some of those arrested during December's riots had been subjected to torture in the State Security Committee's detention facilities. "If only I had received any information on any torture - in our times, in the center of Europe, why?" he said.

He accused Polish and German security services of co-plotting December's protests.

"Why were they so agitated in Poland and Germany? We cited facts - go on, check them. But they didn't want to," he said.


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