Saturday, 16 December 2017

Czech foreign minister pleading for human rights in Belarus

ČTK |
19 June 2017

Prague, June 16 (CTK) - Belarusian opposition should join more the country's foreign policy, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists after meeting his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei today.

The Czech Republic would welcome it if it were possible to register political parties and non-governmental organisations in Belarus, Zaoralek said.

Belarus is also attractive for the Czech business, but it must improve the transparency of its business environment, he added.

"I told Makei that we would welcome it very much if opposition deputies were more involved in foreign activities, if we could see that parties and NGOs are registered in Belarus," Zaoralek said.

The Czech Republic also watches the development in the sphere of human rights observance.

According to the latest U.N. report, the situation in Belarus has dramatically worsened.

The report warns of the harsh suppression of the March anti-government protests in which over 900 people were detained, including opposition leaders, human rights advocates, journalists and foreign visitors.

Last year, Belarus also executed four people, the biggest number in the country since 2008.

"For us, it is very important how the detained people are treated. The information that they did not become political prisoners is vital," Zaoralek said.

"We would welcome it if Belarus continued with the steps convincing us that it is coming closer to European standards," Zaoralek said.

Trade was also on the agenda of the talks.

"We discussed the preparation of the projects beneficial both to Czech and Belarusian businesspeople. We spoke about the removal of the barriers hampering the presence of Czech businesspeople on the Belarusian market," Makej said.

The Czech-Belarusian trade exchange has been falling lately.

The Czech Foreign Ministry is of the view the trade relations could be developed and Belarus might become an important partner.

"I told my opposite number that the Belarusian side should contribute to the better transparency of the businessman environment and predictability so that the attractiveness of investments and business in Belarus could increase," Zaoralek said.

pv/dr

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