Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Yosef Shagal about political prisoners: I was misunderstood

charter97.org

The Ambassador of Israel finds excuses for insulting the Belarusian political prisoners.

Yosef Shagal said it in the Glavny Efir programme on Belarus One TV channel on the evening of September 21. He said it after a question if he regretted his remark about the political prisoners in the country at the beginning of his tenure, BelaPAN reports.

My words were misinterpreted. I was misunderstood. I am the Ambassador of the State of Israel to the Republic of Belarus. The claims to me that my words were interpreted in favour or against anybody I deny them. I do not interfere and will never interfere with the internal affairs of the Republic of Belarus, the independent state. I was sent here to strengthen our relations, not to damage and ruin them. It's too early to speak about it, I think I need to work 1-1.5 years more, but the result of my work is obvious: the visa regime between our countries was abolished. It speaks for itself. I do not comment on whether I pleased someone or not, the Israeli ambassador said.

Yosef Shagal said at a press conference on 15 February 2012 that he didn't know about political prisoners in Belarus. I am a citizen of Israel. We have no political prisoners. As for Belarus, I don't know it. I need to read newspapers. I will give you an answer in six months, the ambassador said. As a journalist, I know well how articles are made. Have you ever been to camps for political prisoners?

The Israeli ambassador said to Glavny Efir that he had met with five leaders of Belarusian opposition. I call them as they introduced themselves, Yosef Shagal noted but declined to give more details about the meeting. I had a dialogue. I think we understood one other, the ambassador noted.