EC to "monitor" situation of Poles in Belarus

The European Commission is to look into the problems surrounding the treatment of the Union of Poles in Belarus.

Stefan Foule, the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy was in Minsk, Thursday, on an official delegation, met with the Polish minority in Belarus saying that the European Commission will "monitor the situation."

Commissioner Stefan Foule said during his meeting with the Polish minority in Minsk that the European Union is to ask Belarusian authorities to stop their repression of Union of Poles' activists as well as to observe human rights and civic freedoms.

Earlier, high-profile members of the Polish minority in Belarus were stopped by Belarusian militia while travelling from Grodno to Minsk for the meeting, delaying their journey for an hour.

Andrzej Poczobut, the chairman of the Council of the Union of Poles in Belarus, told Polish Radio that the Belarusian authorities were trying to hamper him and the acting head of the Union of Poles, Anzhelika Orechwo, from reaching the Belarusian capital for the meeting with Commissioner Foule, on the pretext of searching for contraband firearms.

"I think they knew exactly that we didn't have anything [disallowed] on our person, they just wanted to to stop us from meeting the EU commissioner. When [Mr. Foule] heard about our delay, he said that he would fix another meeting," Andrzej Poczobut said. (jb)


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