Peoples Referendum initiators held meetings in Poland
On September 9th, 2013, representatives of Belarusian independent movements and oppositional political parties met with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and his Deputy Katarzyna Pelchynska-Nałęcz. They also took part in the round table discussions „Is the ’People’s Referendum’ opening up new opportunities for Belarusian democratic forces?” organized by the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW).
Belarusian participants included Irina Veshtard (‘Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Hramada”’), Aliaksander Milinkevich (‘For Freedom’ Movement), Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu (‘Tell the Truth!’ Civic Campaign), and Aliaksei Yanukevich (‘Belarusian Popular Front’ Party), - initiators of the ‘People’s Referendum’ Coalition, launched in late May 2013.
At the meeting in the Polish Foreign Ministry, Belarusian political opposition leaders provided their assessment of the current situation in Belarus, in particular, in the view of the ‘potash conflict’. Politicians also talked about the implementation modalities of the ‘People’s Referendum’ campaign - a project, which, in their view, could change the situation in Belarus.
The parties also discussed Belarus-EU cooperation issues. Belarusian political opposition leaders expressed unanimous support to all potential steps to be made by the European Union towards Belarus, and emphasized that Belarusian situation required new approaches and a long-term strategy. According to Belarusian opposition politicians, the EU needs to boost the EU-Belarus relations, and plant the European integration possibility into the minds of Belarusian authorities. The authorities need to understand, that the doors are open, and that many opportunities have been created for the country’s benefit: the Eastern Partnership Programme and the European dialogue on modernization with Belarus.