Updated at 11:25,18-04-2018

Polish government takes "anti-Belarusian stance", foreign ministry spokesman says


There are no plans to start implementing a Belarusian-Polish interstate agreement on local border traffic any time soon because of the "rather tough anti-Belarusian stance" of the Polish government, Andrey Savinykh, spokesman for the Belarusian foreign ministry, said at Thursday's briefing, BelaPAN said.

As for a small border traffic agreement with Lithuania, Belarus continues to examine the experience of implementing a similar agreement with Latvia, Mr. Savinykh said.

Under the Belarusian-Polish local border traffic agreement, signed in February 2010 and ratified by both countries later that year, people who reside within 50 kilometers of the shared border will be allowed to cross the border without a visa if they have a special local border traffic permit, which will allow them to stay within the 50-kilometer border zone on the other side of the border for up to a total of 90 days within a year.

Opposition activists have collected more than a thousand signatures for petitions that call for implementing the agreement. An online petition launched by the Belarusian Christian Democracy party in May 2012 expresses deep concern about the government's failure to enact the agreement despite the fact that it "affects the interests of more than a million Belarusian citizens."

On March 1, 2012, Lithuania officially notified Belarus of the completion of domestic procedures for implementing the interstate agreement on local border traffic, which was signed in October 2010.

The agreement shall take effect 30 days after Lithuania is notified of the completion of similar procedures by Belarus.

Signed in August 2010, a local border traffic agreement between Belarus and Latvia took effect on February 1, 2012.