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July 24 – July 30, 2023
Belarus-West relations

The regime writes off the UN and negotiations with the West

The situation has not changed

Lukashenka is dissatisfied with the political bias of the UN and will not go to New York for the summit on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for fear of being arrested on a possible warrant from the International Criminal Court, as well as a deliberate intention to curtail contacts with the West. Official Minsk intends to concentrate on consolidating friendly countries to counter pressure from the West. Against this background, the EU finally agreed on a new package of sanctions against the Belarusian regime.

Lukashenka is not satisfied with what is happening in the United Nations (UN). He cannot tolerate this state of affairs, since Belarus is one of the founders of the UN. There are even doubts about the need for representation of Belarus in the organization. First of all, Lukashenka is dissatisfied with the work of the UN Secretariat, which is under the influence and pressure of major players – Western countries.

It is expected that Foreign Minister Siarhei Aleinik will lead the Belarusian delegation at  the high-level week at the UN General Assembly session. The day before it starts, a summit on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals will begin in New York.

Earlier, Lukashenka’s press service stated that he had received an invitation from UN Secretary General António Guterres to participate in the summit. A response was sent to this invitation, in which Lukashenka promised that Belarus “will take part in this important event at a decent level.” He indirectly outlined the program of his visit during the annual seminar with employees of foreign missions. He called for the active use of the experience of retaliatory actions to illegitimate sanctions to consolidate friendly countries, demonstration to the world community of their counterproductive and perniciousness. In addition, it is necessary to position Belarus as one of the states that form the core of sanity in the world.

In addition, Aleinik described Minsk’s position on the current geopolitical situation. Belarus today is actually at the centre of the geopolitical confrontation with all the ensuing risks and consequences. At the current stage, there are no prerequisites for normalizing the situation in the region and in the world as a whole in the short and medium term.

He again blamed the West for everything but drew attention to the growing number of peacekeeping initiatives primarily due to Lukashenka’s personal role. It is necessary to make maximum use and emphasize this factor in all foreign policy contacts that diplomatic workers carry out in the countries of their accreditation.

Lukashenka’s refusal to go to New York is associated both  with the risk of arrest in connection with the possible issuance of a warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, and in general with a deliberate intention to curtail contacts with the West. Indicative in this regard is Minsk’s reluctance to compromise in connection with the release of political prisoner journalist Andrzej Poczobut from prison. Warsaw made every possible attempt to release him,  But at the moment there are no conditions for this, since there is not the slightest goodwill on the Belarusian side.

Against this background, the Justice Hub Centre for Law and Democracy presented  a report on human rights violations in Belarus between May 2020 and May 2023 with the following main conclusion: Lukashenka and the Belarusian authorities have committed crimes against humanity, which include imprisonment, torture, murder, rape and other grave forms of sexual violence, enforced disappearances,  persecution and deportation. According to the report, the total number of victims of repression in Belarus from May 2020 to May 2023 exceeded 136 thousand people. The report also analyses the possibilities of bringing to justice through the mechanisms: the ICC, domestic courts in Belarus and abroad, the creation of a special tribunal for crimes against humanity in Belarus.

Meanwhile, as expected, on July 26th, EU ambassadors agreed on sanctions against the Belarusian regime. The new package does not provide for exceptions and exemptions for Belarusian potash fertilizers. This issue is likely to be raised in the autumn by some countries.

 

 

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