The European Union and Poland in particular do not finance opposition forces in Belarus, they support the country’s civil society, Polish Ambassador Leszek Szerepka told reporters in Minsk on Wednesday.
When asked about a document containing data about the Polish foreign ministry’s financial assistance to the Belarusian opposition, which was posted on the web, and asked whether such assistance was interference in Belarus’ internal affairs, Mr. Szerepka said that he had not seen that document, but noted that such data usually were not classified in Poland. "There are governments that use any information to combat civil society and Belarus is among them," he said.
Mr. Szerepka also said that the Polish foreign ministry provided assistance for carrying out various projects in Belarus, including HIV/AIDS prevention and the renovation of schools for children with disabilities.
"In our country, the use of assistance from abroad [by a civil society organization] is not punishable, whereas in your country, this is an offense carrying a prison term," he said. "In a situation where there is such a difference between laws, we should take care of the safety of people."
When the situation regarding civil society in Belarus improves, information about Poland’s assistance to non-governmental organizations will be open, the ambassador noted.