MYADEL DISTRICT, 2 August (BelTA) – While talking to journalists on 2 August, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko answered a question whether Belarus plans to grant accelerated citizenship opportunities to residents of Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, BelTA has learned.
The head of state noted that Belarus grants citizenship to migrants from Ukraine and this process is rather fast. “It cannot be any faster. In fact, in our country citizenship can be granted by the president. When I get applications, I do not shelve them. The same attitude will be to Lithuanians, Latvians and Poles,” the head of state assured.
“Specialists who want to live and work here are welcome to apply for citizenship in Belarus. The deputies sought [initially it was an initiative of MPs] to prevent red tape, to make the whole process fast. And we have a mechanism ... Probably, there is nothing like this anywhere else in the world. We are ready for this. We will do everything to accept our most decent and kind neighbors into our Belarusian family. And not only neighbors. Whoever wants to work here, live the Belarusian way, please, the door is open,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the economic aspect was not the main reason why Belarus introduced the visa waiver for residents of the EU countries neighboring Belarus. “On the one hand we will make money on this, on the other hand, we will help people. People will appreciate it. They won't fight against us,” the Belarusian leader said. “Who doesn't want to make money after all? The state wants to, and I want to. But that's not the main thing. The main thing is to make our neighbors see that normal people live next to them. People here look like Poles, and they are not aggressive, they are ready to help out in times of need. When our neighbors see this, they will not be belligerent against us. This is important,” the head of state explained.
A reminder, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei told the media earlier that the procedure for obtaining Belarus citizenship for residents of Lithuania, Latvia and Poland might be relaxed.
Belarus waived visas for citizens of Lithuania and Latvia in April and for citizens of Poland in July. Proposals were voiced in Belarus to ease citizenship requirements for residents of these EU countries. In particular, such an initiative was made by member of the House of Representatives Oleg Gaidukevich.
Aleksandr Lukashenko raised the issue of Belarus' visa waiver program as he met with Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Karanik in July. “It's a peculiar issue. We have launched the visa-waiver program for citizens of Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. First of all, this is your area of responsibility as you lead the frontier region. What are your impressions, your point of view on this?” the head of state asked. “Do we continue with it? What is the reaction of people, both visitors from Lithuania, Latvia and Poland and our people? Most importantly, how do our people feel about it?”
“The governments of these countries have gone bananas. They are losing it. They are picking at children now. This is all you need to know about freedom of speech and human rights,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.