Belarus’ government news sources won’t say who of the leaders of foreign countries will attend official Independence Day celebrations to be held in Minsk on July 3.
The presidential press office declined to tell BelaPAN on Thursday the heads of state or government of which states had been invited, suggesting posing the question to the foreign ministry. The ministry denied any information without explaining the reason.
Pavel Borodin, state secretary of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, told reporters as far back as June 6, that an official invitation had been sent to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Officers at the Russian embassy in Minsk told BelaPAN on Thursday that they did not know whether Mr. Medvedev might arrive in Minsk. There were no official announcements of a visit to Minsk on the Russian president’s website.
However, Mr. Medvedev still may arrive, as Alyaksandr Lukashenka has rescheduled his wreath-laying ceremony in Minsk’s Victory Square from the morning of July 3 to 9:15 p.m., July 2.
The third of July is the anniversary the 1944 liberation of Minsk in World War II. Before a November 1996 referendum, this date had been officially observed as the Day of the Liberation of Belarus from German Invaders, and Independence Day had been celebrated on July 27. On this date in 1990, the Supreme Soviet adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus. In the 1996 referendum, according to the president-appointed central election commission, most of the Belarusians voted for President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's proposal to bring forward the national holiday to July 3.