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Opinions & Interviews

26 Apr 2014

Makei: Belarus’ image is diabolized in the European public mind

Makei: Belarus’ image is diabolized in the European public mind

MINSK, 26 April (BelTA) – The image of Belarus is diabolized in the European public mind, Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei said in an interview to the Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny, BelTA has learnt.

“In the European public opinion Belarus is either a so-called taboo or the country’s image, as I have recently mentioned in an interview to the Baltic media, is diabolized, which is absolutely contrary to the facts. If Belarus makes some headway, this information is tabooed since it is positive. If some problems appear in Belarus, they are exaggerated and assume a shape of a tragedy. The same issues in other countries are simply ignored,” Vladimir Makei noted.

Speaking about Belarus’ relations with European countries, the Foreign Minister of Belarus stressed: “Any state has specific features in the relations with this or that country. The same is true about Belarus. Of course we have some specific relations with the Czech Republic. Belarus’ relations with the EU countries differ of course. There are countries we enjoy more vibrant cooperation than we have with the Czech Republic both in the political and economic areas.”

The minister cited as an example Belarus’ successful cooperation with its neighboring countries. The country enjoys a $1.5 billion trade turnover with Lithuania. A lot of cargo goes through the ports of Latvia and Lithuania. “We are closely connected in the trade and economic sector. A big Belarusian diaspora lives in these countries. We are connected by human relations and we cannot deny it. Therefore we have more vibrant political contacts with these countries, hold meetings at the level of various ministries and agencies,” he said.

As for the cooperation with the Czech Republic, the main problem, according to Vladimir Makei, is in the sanctions the European Union has imposed on Belarus. “The Czech Republic has to obediently follow the decisions taken in Brussels. We do not place the blame on the country for it. It is just a statement of the fact. Any other EU member state does it,” the minister explained.

“We should look below the surface: the nature of these sanctions is absolutely nonsensical. Moreover, the black list comprises people who bear no relation to the elections,” Vladimir Makei believes. In his words, the list includes ten journalists who expressed their viewpoint on the situation as well as members of various election commissions, judges. “I believe that if we talk about the independence of judges and mass media, we should stick to this principle. The inclusion of reporters and judges into this sanction list undermines the fundamental principles of the democracy the European Union talks about,” the minister stressed.

At the same time the Foreign Minister of Belarus stated that he had repeatedly talked on the issue of the reporters included into the black list with OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic. “In her words, she supports us in this issue and she held the relevant talks with the representatives of Brussels. The situation, however, has not changed yet,” Vladimir Makei said.

 

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