MINSK, 6 April (BelTA) – Ethnic Poles living in Belarus are citizens of Belarus, President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the meeting to discuss foreign policy on 6 April, BelTA has learned.
“There are many speculations about Poles and oppression. I want to remind the Polish leadership again: indeed, there are a lot of Poles living in Belarus. But these are our Poles. Their homeland is Belarus. They live here, their children live and will live here, too. If anyone wants to leave, they can do it. We have never barred anyone from doing it and will never do. Those who live with us, citizens of Belarus, are our Poles,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.
He noted that the same pertains to other ethnicities: “These are our Russians, our Ukrainians, our Jewish people...”.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the legitimate response of law enforcement agencies to the illegal activities of some Belarusian citizens who call themselves Poles is viewed in Warsaw as the oppression of the Polish ethnic minority. “However, for some reason, some individuals in our country recall their ethnic roots only when they break the law, and not when they need to do something useful for the state which citizenship they hold. It doesn't matter who they are - Poles, Belarusians, Russians, Jewish people, or Ukrainians,” the head of state said.
The president emphasized that Belarus has always respected the rights of all ethnic minorities and is proud of the inter-ethnic peace in the country. “It will always be like this. Both inter-faith and inter-ethnic peace in Belarus will be preserved at all costs. Nobody will push us into confrontation between Poles and Belarusians or Russians,” Aleksandr Lukashenko assured.
“Moreover, Belarusians and Poles are united by many years of common history. We have no unsettled territorial and property claims to each other. We have never recalled the occupation of a significant part of the Belarusian territory by Poland in the 1920s and the 1930s. Apparently, the time has come to return to this topic and study it in detail with historians and political scientists, which, by the way, we have already begun to do,” the head of state said.