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Wednesday, 8 October 2008

We cannot interfere with a genuinely representative organisation of the Polish community

8 October 2008. President of the Republic of Poland Mr Lech Kaczyński, met with the President of the Union of Poles in Belarus, Ms. Andżelika Borys. The meeting focused on the ‘the Polish Charter’ and the current situation of Poles in Belarus. Accompanying the President was the head of the National Security Bureau, Władysław Stasiak.

In a joint statement for the press after the meeting, President Lech Kaczyński said:

’I have congratulated Madam President on her determination, toughness and successes. We discussed at some length the situation of the Polish minority and the situation in Belarus in general. Please remember that according to the official, unchanging data, we have four hundred thousand Poles there, and there is also data indicating that there are even more Poles in Belarus, but I will not try to estimate how many more. Even four hundred thousand Poles make up five per cent of the Belarusian population.
We talked about changes, i.e. about the fact that the regime has become slightly less repressive, but I would like to uphold my opinion that so far these have been changes intended to prevent any change from happening. This is precisely what is indicated by the results of the most recent elections in Belarus. As we know, no representative of the opposition has won a seat in parliament.

As far as the Union of Poles in Belarus is concerned, it is intolerable that an organisation created by non-democratic authorities, an organisation whose leader has on many occasions displayed precisely the attitude expected by the incumbent Belarusian authorities, that such an organisation should be merged with an organisation that is a genuine representative body, the one that is headed by Ms Andżelika Borys.

Once again, I wish to offer my warmest thanks for that to Ms Andżelika Borys and to say that improving relations with Belarus is a good thing, but certain conditions have to be met first. We as Poland cannot take advantage of a certain propensity of our friends from the EU to regard countries situated east of Poland in a special way, to take advantage of it so as to actually help regimes that do not deserve that. And in particular we cannot interfere with the affairs of a thriving, genuinely representative organisation of the Polish community. And this is what we were talking about.

I wish to offer my warmest congratulations to you, Madam President, and to wish you further success. I am deeply convinced that not only for the Polish minority, but for all citizens of the state situated north-east of Poland, i.e. Belarus, their waiting time for change of the kind that has occurred in the rest of Europe is about to end.’ 
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