Updated at 19:23,23-11-2017

Belarus has its own understanding of human rights, Lukashenka says

By Tanya Korovenkova, BelaPAN

Belarus does not criticize Europe for its understanding of human rights but has its own stance on this issue, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said in Minsk on March 9 while meeting with that Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union`s special representative for human rights.

The European Union is a mature organization, it has intelligent people, they know how to formulate what they want, but we have out own understanding of humanitarian issues, including human rights, Mr. Lukashenka was quoted as saying by BelTA. He emphasized that he meant not only his personal views but also the opinion of Belarusian authorities in general.

Mr. Lukashenka expressed satisfaction that the head-on confrontation between Belarus and the EU was over. In the past, Brussels and Minsk built some strange wall between themselves and tried to exchange phrases over that fence, not even to talk, he said, expressing hope that that period had come to an end.
The Belarusian government welcomes the fact that Europe has noticed and done justice to Belarus and proper trade, economic and investment cooperation can now be pursued, Mr. Lukashenka said. He predicted that many humanitarian issues, including human rights as this is understood in the European Union, would automatically resolve themselves as Belarus and the EU stepped up their economic cooperation.

According to Mr. Lambrinidis, the EU views the abolition of its restrictive measures against Belarus as an opportunity to increase bilateral cooperation in all areas, including political, economic and human rights cooperation.

Just like Belarus, the EU does not consider the subject of human rights separately from economic matters, Mr. Lambrinidis said. We believe that progress in this area will be directly connected with foreign investment and trade and economic cooperation, for example, he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Lambrinidis met with Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey. According to the ministrys press office, Messrs. Makey and Lambrinidis discussed issues relating to the development of a dialogue and human rights cooperation between Belarus and the European Union.

Mr. Lambrinidis, who arrived in Minsk on March 8 for a four-day visit, is scheduled to have meetings with representatives of Belarusian authorities, political parties and civil society and with human rights defenders. On March 10, Mr. Lambrinidis will attend a UN-organized international conference on the death penalty.

Among those in attendance will be Andrea Rigoni, the rapporteur on the situation in Belarus at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly; Karel Schwarzenberg, a former Czech foreign minister who currently chairs the foreign affairs committee in the Czech Republics Chamber of Deputies; Fionna Gibb, the British ambassador to Belarus; and Sanaka Samarasinha, UN resident coordinator/UNDP resident representative in Belarus.