Updated at 13:35,15-07-2024

Opposition politicians to attend discussion on Belarus in Brussels

By Syarhey Karalevich, BelaPAN

A delegation of Belarusian opposition politician will attend an October 13 joint meeting of the working group on Belarus in the EU-Neighborhood East Parliamentary Assembly (Euronest PA) and the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Belarus, said the Belarusian Popular Front's press office.

The meeting will be held in Brussels. The delegation will include Iryna Veshtard, leader of the Hramada Belarusian Social Democratic Party; Tatsyana Karatkevich, leader of the "Tell the Truth!" movement; Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, who leads the Movement for the Statehood and Independence of Belarus; United Civic Party leader Anatol Lyabedzka; Alyaksandr Milinkevich, chairman of the Movement for Freedom; Vital Rymashewski, a co-chairman of Belarusian Christian Democracy; former presidential candidate and political prisoner Mikalay Statkevich; and Alyaksey Yanukevich, chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front.

In attendance will also be Tana de Zulueta, head of the observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights for Belarus’ September 6-11 House of Representatives elections; Kent Harstedt, special coordinator of the short-term OSCE observer mission in the elections; and Thomas Mayr-Harting, managing director for Europe and Central Asia in the European External Action Service.

The political situation in Belarus and the recent elections will be high on the meeting's agenda.

In addition, the possibility of inviting a delegation of the House of Representatives to join Euronest PA for the first time in the organization's history is expected to be discussed.

Proponents of the step explain that there are now opposition figures in the House of Representatives, said Mr. Yanukevich, adding that he objected to the proposal. "Belarus is a European country and it is the European standards of democracy and elections that should be the basis for assessing the recent parliamentary elections in our country," he said. "During the elections Minsk did none of the things that could become grounds for recognizing them as democratic. That's why the seat of the Belarusian legislature in Euronest PA should remain vacant."

Mr. Yanukevich said that he would speak at the meeting about fines imposed on opposition activists over pre-election demonstrations, as well as about the cases of Eduard Palchys and Uladzimir Kondrus, opposition supporters who are both held in custody on what is widely viewed as politically motivated charges.

"I am certain that these circumstances should be taken by European parliamentary organizations into account as they decide on whether the new House of Representatives has the right to take the seat in Euronest PA that should belong to true Belarusian MPs who would be elected in true and free elections," said Mr. Yanukevich.