MINSK, 26 April (BelTA) - The Embassy of Belarus intends to take part in the commemorative events in the former Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, spokesman for the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anatoly Glaz, told the media, BelTA learned from the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"We have carefully read reports in the Austrian press, but in fact the situation looks like this: a month ago the Belarusian Embassy in Vienna received an official invitation to attend the commemorative ceremony in Mauthausen. No one has withdrawn it yet. Therefore, no matter what the Austrian press writes, the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus has been invited and will be in attendance," he stressed.
Anatoly Glaz noted that Belarusian diplomats annually visit this memorable place at the call of the heart, not at some invitations. "This is our sacred duty, which we will honor. Even if someone decides to formally withdraw the invitation at the last minute, we will still go to pay tribute. We are the heirs of the victorious people, we are the heirs of the nation-liberator. Most of the victims of this concentration camp in Austria were citizens of the former Soviet Union, so no one has the right to forbid us to do this," Anatoly Glaz said.
According to him, Belarus respects the work of the international, Austrian committees, the administration of the Mauthausen memorial complex, and has been cooperating with them for many years. "But the memory of the victims is not their private property. In fact, they were entrusted with protecting this memory, not privatizing it," the spokesman said.
"So I would like to repeat: the Belarusian delegation will use its legal right and honor the memory of the victims of the concentration camp. Since Austria considers itself a free democratic country, there should be no problem with this. Otherwise, it will mean that almost nothing has remained of the Austrian neutrality, which was proclaimed exactly for making sure that the events of the past should never be repeated," Anatoly Glaz concluded. He also added that there are memorable places for Austrian citizens in Belarus, including the Trostenets memorial complex. Belarus will never stoop to restricting the ability for Austrian citizens to come and pay tribute to their ancestors and compatriots.