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Belarusian foreign minister against political exploitation of street protests

Politics 15.03.2017 | 15:06
Vladimir Makei
Vladimir Makei

MINSK, 15 March (BelTA) – The small number of street protests going on in Belarus should not be exploited for political goals. Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei made the statement after negotiations with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs Didier Reynders on 15 March, BelTA has learned.

Vladimir Makei said: “As far as specific arrests are concerned, it is necessary to take a look at who participated in these street rallies, who have been directly affected by the decree [on preventing social dependency]. It seems to us that many people in Belarus and abroad are trying to use these street protests for personal goals.”

Vladimir Makei noted that there is always fear that the fragile process of normalizing Belarus' relations with the European Union may halt. “We understand perfectly well that European Union member states uphold certain values. We understand that these values are important for the European Union. We've discussed the matter with my Belgian counterpart as a whole and in detail,” said the Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Vladimir Makei said: “It is necessary to understand that some countries spent decades and centuries to reach democracy. It takes a long time for a country to assimilate true democracy of the genuine European variety. The mentality and psychology of people have to change for it. It is necessary to work with the civil society in this regard.”

Vladimir Makei went on saying: “It is very important to inform about all the circumstances and discuss ways out of similar situations today and in the future. We've talked about it with Mr Reynders today.”

In turn, the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister confirmed that the matter had been discussed during the negotiations with Vladimir Makei. “I pointed out that it is very important for the European Union to continue an open dialogue with Belarus. It is necessary to differentiate between administrative arrests, which happen during many actions and protests even in the European Union member states and arrests for some criminal actions,” said Didier Reynders.

The Belgian Deputy Prime Minister called for a continuation of the dialogue between the government and the civil society. “We welcome certain positive steps made by the Belarusian government in this regard in the last few months,” added Didier Reynders.

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