Polish President Lech Kaczynski expressed solidarity with the Polish minority in Belarus while meeting Monday in Warsaw with Andzelika Borys, leader of the so-called unofficial Union of Poles in Belarus (UPB), and other prominent members of the Union, unrecognized by the Belarusian authorities.
"Solidarity is much needed by our compatriots and all those who want change in Belarus," Mr. Kaczynski said at the meeting, according to his press office. "I feel it is my duty as the president to express full solidarity."
The situation of the Polish minority in Belarus has considerably deteriorated lately, Mr. Kaczynski noted, adding that he had never been indifferent to the fate of the Poles living in Belarus, and that he would take specific steps to improve their situation. According to him, one of such steps was his recent letter to Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in which he expressed concern and strong protest over increased repressive measures against the UPB.
Mr. Kaczynski stressed that Poland was defending not only ethnic Poles but also the values and principles held in common by the European Union nations. "We are also defending civil society, which has room for the rights of national minorities – the Polish one, in this case – as well as the rights of the opposition," he said.
Ms. Borys thanked the Polish president for his solidarity, noting that it is of great importance for thousands of Poles in Belarus and not only for those who currently fight for their rights.
As UPB spokesman Igor Bancer told BelaPAN, during the meeting, which lasted more than half an hour, Mr. Kaczynski and Ms. Borys agreed that the EU member countries should make a joint effort to defend human rights in Belarus.
"The president was given first-hand information about the situation of the Union Poles and the general situation in the country and received answers to all the questions he asked," Mr. Bancer said. "The meeting was held in a very positive atmosphere and we are satisfied with its results."
He expressed hope that the Polish president would manage to draw European politicians’ attention to the situation in Belarus.
Mr. Bancer said that Ms. Borys was expected to appear live on two popular Polish TV channels, Polsat News and TVN 24, on Monday night and leave for Brussels the following morning for meetings at the European Parliament. The other members of the UPB delegation were to return to Belarus.