Europe Splits Over Belarus

Portugal did not uphold EU’s decision to deny Belarussian president a visa 

On November 19th the session of foreign ministers of the European Union denied a visa for the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. Neither Lukashenko, nor seven Belarussian ministers were allowed to gain access to the EU countries. The capital of Portugal, Lisbon, became a saving straw for the senior officials of Belarus.

Portugal decided to block the decision, which was upheld by 14 other countries. Lisbon agreed to receive Belarussian officials on its territory. In addition to that, if Lukashenko and his ministers wish to go to Portugal, they will be granted national Portuguese visas, not Shengen visas.

Portugal chairs the OSCE right now. The government of this country does not exclude that EU’s decision against Belarus will prevent a session of OSCE ministers in Porto. The session is to take place on December 6-7.

Times of News Online wrote that Portugal’s special position is connected with the fact that Lisbon would soon hold the summit between the European Union and Africa. It was added that anti-Belarussian sanctions might provoke something else like that against several African leaders.

The government of Portugal believes that the precedent with Alexander Lukashenko might lead to more incidents like that as far as the African politics is concerned. For instance, the European Union might institute such sanctions against authoritarian President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. The new Portuguese government believes that such measures will hinder the solution of the problems, which lead to the isolation of such countries as Belarus.

Well, it means that Portugal chairs the OSCE for a reason. This country will be the venue for the African-European summit, which is not incidental either. Unfortunately, not all European countries listen to progressive tendencies that come from Portugal now. This is probably because of the fact that Portugal does not currently enjoy the political influence that it used to have.

The State Duma of Russia refused to add two draft resolutions on its agenda today. The documents were offered from LDPR faction (Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia) deputy Aleskey Mitrofanov. One of the documents contained an address from the lower house of the Russian parliament to the government of the Czech republic. The address is connected with the refusal to grant a visa to the president of Belarus.

As Mitrofanov said, the demarche of the Czech authorities was an unprecedented incident to happen against the Unified State of Russia and Belarus. Mitrofanov is certain that there should be adequate measures taken in return. State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov pointed out that all official statements had been done. He recommended Mitrofanov to withhold his comments on the subject. As a result, Mitrofanov’s initiative was supported by 148 deputies, whereas the needed number of votes was 226.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently had a phone conversation with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko. The presidents decided to hold a top meeting in Moscow, around November 27th. According to the information from the press service of the Belarussian president, the leaders of the two countries will discuss the issues, which caused wild reactions in the society.

RIA Novosti has recently reported that over 270 citizens of various countries that were going to come for the NATO summit in Prague, could not enter the territory of the Czech republic. The vast majority of those people were denied a visa on account of their inclusion on the list of “undesirable people.” The black list reportedly counts more than two thousand people.

RTR-Vesti.Ry photograph

Sergey Yugov

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka