Visiting Belarus visa-free

Statement by Press-Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already stressed that the European Union and the United States, while commenting on the situation in Belarus, are persistently trying to misrepresent their wish as reality.

The latest statements by the EU Austrian Chairmanship and the US State department press-secretary are a demonstration of the European Union and the United States being on the verge of anti-Belarusian hysteria. They either allow someone to mislead them, or delude the European and the American public themselves.

On 26 March 2006, the Belarusian law-enforcement agencies acted with self-restrain and patience neither hindering the conduct of the rally nor taking any suppressive measures, in spite of the fact that the opposition event had not been sanctioned by the city authorities. However, the peaceful conduct of the rally was broken by the opposition leader Alexander Kozulins call to a coercive overturn of the legitimate regime (coup detat) and marching to an establishment of the Ministry of Interior the special admittance and distribution facility under the Minsk interior department. A part of the protesters heeded the call.

The police which blocked the passages to this specially guarded building was attacked and had to restore the order. A. Kozulin and the most aggressive attackers were detained. A number of law-enforcement officers were hit. At present a comprehensive investigation and study of the materials are being carried out with the aim to provide a legal assessment of the actions of the non-sanctioned event participants.

We would like to draw the attention of the EU and the US to the fact that even a runner-up in the presidential election who received their support called Kozulins appeal a provocation and stated that he would no longer propose the latter to join the coalition.

We would also like to remind the EU and the US of the full-scale use of power by the law-enforcement agencies against the rally in the capital of one of the largest European Union member states, including the use of water jets, tear-grenades, clubs and other special means. We strongly recommend the US and the EU to apply unified standards while assessing the actions of the law-enforcement bodies in Belarus and in their own countries.

It is obvious for objective monitors that the situation in Belarus is absolutely calm. In this regard we resolutely urge the European Union and the United States to stop trying to destabilize the situation from outside.

Minsk, 26 March 2006