The extent of the US criticism is absolutely ungrounded
In an exclusive interview with PRAVDA.Ru while paying an official visit to Argentina, Belarusian Foreign Minister, Sergey Martynov, harshly criticised the US for rising concerns over human rights issues in his country. “Washington meddles in the internal affairs of foreign countries. Russia don't”, he said.
Calmly but firmly, Belarus makes clear to anyone who wants to listen that the recent declaration of the US Congress rising concerns over the human rights situation in the country does not intimidate it. Moreover, after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko obtained a stunning approval to his re-election bid in last week referendum, his diplomats look free to counter-attack.
Q: Recently, the US Congress passed an Act in which rises fears over the human rights situation in Belarus. How does your government react to that?
Concerns included in the so-called US Congress Act on Freedom in Belarus are misplaced concerns because the human rights situation in our country is by no means worse than in any of its neighbours. Belarus fully complies with its obligations at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Q: Do you think any of Washington's accusations are accurate?
We are a society in transition and as such, we can be criticised in some areas. But the extent of the US criticism is absolutely ungrounded. We have concerns about democracy in the United States. Recently we made a strong statement at the OSCE in which we have expressed our concerns as most of the states in the US do not allow foreign observers in the current elections process.
Q: What does it mean for Belarus?
That's exactly what we mean when we talk about double standards in the US foreign policy. The US is not in position to teach other nations. They have to look at themselves, first.
Q: How much have been affected bilateral relations after the statement of the US Congress?
USA is a superpower and we have to deal with that. Our relation with the United States is an uneasy one. We condemned the invasion of Iraq as we are working to pursue the international law. They are world leaders, but we think leadership does not mean domination or permanent intimidation. Relations should be on equal basis.
Q: Do you consider the recent involvement of Russian President Vladimir Putin in both Belarusian and Ukrainian electoral processes an intromission?
Our relation with Russia is a top priority for us, as Russia is our major neighbour. The relation can only be on equal basis. Both countries continue to be independent states and Russia is absolutely respectful of that. Russia, unlike the United States, does not meddle in our internal affairs. They handle their foreign relations in a much more decent way in terms of respecting its international and neighbours' obligations. They are not meddling in our affairs.