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Belarusian Foreign Minister: “It is possible that the government at times used excessive methods.”

On August 9, 2020, Belarus took the lead in global attention after the controversial presidential election that resulted in mass demonstrations plaguing unprecedented brutality in the eastern European country.

Anelise Borges guest on Global Conversation was the first Alexander Lukashenko administration official to agree to an interview with Euronews since the crisis began.

Euronews, Annelies Burgess

“Foreign Minister Oladzimir McGee, welcome, thank you for joining us. The system you are a part of is accused of” collectively and systematically “human rights abuse. I was in Minsk and I saw brutal measures against protesters who believed they were stolen. The United Nations condemned your government’s reaction and said Belarusians should have the right to express their disapproval Do you regret the actions of your administration?

Oladzimir McGee, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus

The whole problem is that you have a different opinion about what happened in Belarus last August. Unfortunately, the mutual accusations have gone so far that there is no turning back. We see the events of the past year from a completely different perspective. Yes, it is possible that the government has Sometimes I used excessive tactics, but this was an appropriate response to the absolutely not peaceful demonstrations, the violent demonstrations that occurred in Belarus after the elections, in fact they tried to stage a coup, so law enforcement and authorities’ measures were absolutely appropriate and necessary. You have to choose between the fate of the country or the things you talk about, including human rights. I am convinced that the government of any other country must preserve the independence and sovereignty of the state. This is exactly what the Belarusian authorities did. “

Euronews, Annelies Burgess

But did you choose to rule over your people? Around 30,000 people have been arrested since the protests began. Even today, there are still hundreds behind bars. The United Nations has called for the immediate release of all political prisoners. Yet people continue to take to the streets, albeit in smaller numbers – does this opposition movement not stop – do they have a plan to recover from the crisis? “

Oladzimir McGee, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus

Today, the daily situation in Belarus is completely normal. It has stabilized and has returned to normal, no demonstrations remember it. As for people who have been arrested in the past: I can assure you that they have been detained for crimes and violations.

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I don’t think these crimes will be judged differently in the European Union. We had 8 suspected terrorist cases associated with burning attacks on buildings and car bombs, 10 cases blocking train tracks, and we also had several cases of roadblocks being lifted. Were they all politically motivated or were they clearly linked to the violation of certain laws in the Republic of Belarus? Such as assaults on police officers and threats against civil servants and police officers’ relatives, including children. All of this entails criminal proceedings in our country as well. We do the same in Belarus. So, it is not a matter of detaining a person without justification. Those who were unjustly arrested have been released and will be released. As far as the detainees are concerned, they will be prosecuted and punished according to the laws of the Republic of Belarus. “

Euronews, Annelies Burgess

“I’m very sorry to interrupt. So she says that Kathyarina Adrieva and Daria Shultuzva, the two journalists who were sentenced to two years in prison for doing their job, are 17-year-old Mikita Zalataro, Victor Paparico, his son Edward Papariko and Maria Kalisnikova … Yuri Syarhi, Kirill Kazi, Ivan Tsahalka … the list is still going on … you say these people are all in prison because their place is there, not for political reasons? ”

Oladzimir McGee, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus

I do not represent the judiciary or the investigation committee, but the State Department, so I cannot talk about every case separately. We can send you relevant information confirming that these individuals have committed violations in all cases. I can cite some names, like Mr. Zinkovic, Mr. Utukhovich and Mr. Alinevich, who are being held for terrorist acts and organizing a coup. Western media have listened to and the public is ashamed of it. It is no secret that just a few days ago, the Special Forces of the Republic of Belarus, in cooperation with the Russian Special Forces, revealed a conspiracy against the Belarusian authorities, one of whose objectives was to assassinate the head of state, remove 30 members of the government, arrest them and kill them. Why isn’t the West talking about this, too? Why don’t European media talk about this? “

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Euronews, Annelies Burgess

“According to the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, last year’s elections were neither free nor fair – and many other Western powers do not recognize Alexander Lukashenko as President of Belarus. What is her current relationship with these countries?”

Oladzimir McGee, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus

“Unfortunately, I must admit that at this point, our relations with the European Union, and with the West in general, are in crisis. Although we still see the European Union as our second trade and economic partner, and a source of technology and innovation for Belarus. And believe me, in years. In the past five years since the sanctions against Belarus were lifted, we have achieved much more than we have achieved in the fifteen years in which the sanctions were in force, and everyone understands that. Human rights fields, etc … Today, but the truth is that the well-known human rights organization Freedom House – The one who has no sympathy for Belarus – she said on April 28 that the country has moved away from democracy more than ever, and I totally agree with that.“Why did Belarus develop again? And thanks to whom? This is a poetic question that we must first ask these European human rights defenders. “

Euronews, Annelies Burgess

“Belarus Alexander Lukashenko still has friends … Or rather, should I say that he has an important friend: Russia. Last week, Belarusian President Vladimir Putin received him in Moscow. What can you tell us about the content of the meeting between the two leaders? And perhaps more importantly: Russia is the last resort they can turn to when it comes to holding power?

Oladzimir McGee, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus

It is not about Russia helping the regime to stay in power. not at all. Our relationship with Russia is dictated by our geographical location and our history. Russia is our neighbor. It is an economically and militarily strong country, and an important geopolitical player on the world stage, which explains the necessity to establish a friendly and normal relationship with this force. Moreover, our relationships go back centuries and are based on centuries of human relationships. This is also very important, and we have obtained roughly equal rights for Belarusian and Russian citizens within the United States. Regarding our relations with Russia, we are interested in strengthening and developing them, especially from a commercial and economic point of view.

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We want to give equal rights to Belarusian and Russian companies within the framework of the United States. The meeting he was referring to was about further integration, strengthening the United States, developing industrial cooperation, bargaining gas prices and much more. As this benefits Belarus and enhances its sovereignty and independence, we intend to continue developing the process of integration with our sisterly neighbor, Russia.

Moreover, I must tell you this clearly: the sanctions imposed by the European Union and other Western countries on Belarus will only contribute to the further development and strengthening of the integration process, not only bilaterally but also at the multilateral level throughout the post-Soviet era. “

Euronews, Annelies Burgess

“Sorry to interrupt, I only have one question. What are your plans, and how do they want to regain their people’s trust? Is there a message for the people of Belarus?”

Oladzimir McGee, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus

“If you are to closely follow events in Belarus, you know that this message has been communicated for a long time. There is a comprehensive and fully open dialogue aimed at improving the constitutional process and amending the constitution. Everyone can participate in this process. The constitutional amendment proposals will be completed by August 1. Then it is presented to the general public for discussion. Therefore we welcome everyone who wants to participate in this dialogue. We believe that we can only succeed through dialogue, in the legal framework of the country, and not through revolutionary attempts or in the street to seize power. Only through “Such a dialogue can succeed and get a real democracy in the Republic of Belarus, a democracy that is not imposed by force from outside. A democracy matured in the minds of its citizens.”

Euronews, Annelies Burgess

“I bet many people disagree with you. Especially the opposition leaders in exile do not. Unfortunately, we have no time left, I would like to thank Foreign Minister Oladzimir Mikge for being with us here in Euronews today. Thank you very much for your participation. Time. . “