EP delegation cancels meeting with House of Representatives members

A European Parliament delegation has cancelled a meeting with members of the House of Representatives in Minsk, according to Andrej Savinych, chairperson of the lower parliamentary chamber’s international affairs committee.

“I have to announce with regret that the planned meeting with the European Parliament delegation will not take place,” said Mr. Savinych. “The meeting will not happen through the fault of the European side.”

The former ambassador to Turkey and Iraq said that House of Representatives members “were ready for dialogue in the context of our traditional values in the Belarusian foreign policy.”

“We always advocate a mutually beneficial and open dialogue,” he said. “Unfortunately, our extended hand turned out to be empty today. Well, we will continue our policy of openness anyway. We will hope that one day our European partners will understand the importance and value of such an approach.”

Representatives of the European Union’s Delegation to Belarus did not immediately respond to BelaPAN’s request for comment on the situation.

A source in the House of Representatives told BelaPAN that the lower parliamentary chamber had been notified of the cancellation of the meeting just 15 minutes before it had been scheduled to start.

“Apparently the old stereotype that since they have not recognized the Belarusian legislature, they cannot stay in its territory has prevailed at the last minute,” said the source. “This is an exotic behavior that is beyond common sense. Rejecting dialogue at a time when we are developing relations with other organizations on different topics is irresponsible.”

The delegation, which arrived in Minsk on February 24 on a five-day visit, includes Valdemar Tomaševski and Karin Karlsbro, both vice chairs of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Belarus, as well as Petras Auštrevičius, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Belarus.