Passed to the Telegraph by WikiLeaks 9:01PM GMT 04 Feb 2011
Ref ID: 08LONDON2170
Date: 8/21/2008 16:31
Origin: Embassy London
Header: VZCZCXRO5942OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSRDE RUEHLO #2170 2341631ZNY CCCCC ZZHO 211631Z AUG 08FM AMEMBASSY LONDONTO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATEINFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002170 NOFORN SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/WE, EUR/UMB; E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/21/2018 TAGS: PREL, PHUM, BO, UK SUBJECT: BELARUS TELLS UK IT'S LOOKING FOR REWARDS FOR PRISONER RELEASE Classified By: Political Counselor Rick Mills for reasons 1.4 (b) and ( d).
1. (C/NF) The Belarus government perceives that its release of political prisoners Syarhey Parsyukevich, Andrey Kim, and Alyaksander Kazulin - long sought by the EU and U.S. - warrants a significant signal from the west indicating an "improved climate." The Belarusian DCM Zoya Kolontai told the Head of the FCO's Eastern Europe and Neighbourhood Team (EUR/UMB equivalent) David Bendor that the prisoners' release indicates Belarus is ready to "comply with international law" and was ready to be an "active partner" with the EU. Bendor expressed HMG appreciation for the release, but cautioned Kolontai that his government and the EU in general would need to see a sustained policy of constructive engagement before significant shifts in policy would be made.
2. (C/NF) Kolontai had a specific favor in mind. The Belarusian government is sponsoring an investment forum in London on November 18 and 19, which it would like its Prime Minister to attend and address. Kolontai requested FCO assistance in obtaining a visa for the PM, as well as help with logistics and security. Bendor said HMG would take the request under consideration, and made clear to Kolantai that his government's behavior, particularly how it conducts, and treats the OSCE observers to, the September 28 elections, would factor into the reply.
3. (C) Bendor told us that the UK's likely next signal to Belarus would be through the EU Presidency conclusions from the September 16 GAERC, which would likely acknowledge the prisoner release and look forward to free and fair elections. The October GAERC could then comment on the elections, and consider other steps, if it is clear that Belarus is making a true attempt at democratization and seeks partnership with the west. Bendor made it clear, however, that HMG does not want to take any steps without first consulting and coordinating with the U.S. He was therefore looking forward to learning the results of EUR DAS Merkel's August 21 visit to Minsk. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXXLEBARON