Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Polish foreign minister calls on Lukhashenka to start power transition talks

Polands foreign minister has called on Alyaksandr Lukashenka to start talks on a peaceful handover of power and not cling to his office like some hardline rulers in North Africa, BelaPAN said.

In an interview published by the Financial Times on Tuesday, Radoslaw Sikorski said, The cause of Belarus economic hardships and political isolation is the system of Lukanomics in the economy and the political sphere. So I believe that the subject for discussion with Mr. Lukashenka is Belarus transition to democracy and his own orderly departure from power, he said.

It would be better for Mr. Lukashenka not to learn from Egypts Hosni Mubarak or Libyas Muammar al-Qadhafi but from the example of General Wojciech Jaruzelski, Polands last Communist leader, who resigned after an agreement was reached to hold democratic elections, Mr. Sidorski said.

The Polish minister suggested that the European Union was right not to have excluded Belarus from its Eastern Partnership program despite Mr. Lukashenkas crackdown on political opponents after a disputed presidential election last December. We think the arrangements and advantages of the Eastern Partnership would benefit the Belarusian people, said Mr. Sikorski.