Belarus should hold free elections, Polish PM says after V4 meeting

2020-09-11 17:55 update: 2020-09-15, 21:12
PM Mateusz Morawiecki. Phot. PAP/Jacek Szydłowski
PM Mateusz Morawiecki. Phot. PAP/Jacek Szydłowski
The Visegrad Group (V4) agree that there should be free presidential elections organised in Belarus and also appeals for the release of political prisoners, Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki said after a V4 meeting in Poland's eastern city of Lublin on Friday.

The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia met in Lublin to discuss the forthcoming extraordinary EU summit and the situation in Belarus and Russia.

"We all agree that Belarus should hold free elections so that the Belarusian nation can on its own and in a sovereign way determine their fate and future," Morawiecki said.

"We also fully condemn all repression that is taking place, even torture, the brutal treatment of demonstrators, protesters. In particular, we also appeal for the immediate release of all political prisoners," Morawiecki went on to say.

"For the Belarusian nation, society we want to put forward an economic offer, an offer of economic cooperation for the future (...). It includes joint projects concerning small and medium-sized enterprises, but also energy policy," the prime minister said.

Morawiecki also announced that the V4 would present at the next European Council meeting both the economic package proposal and a suggestion to lift the visa requirement for Belarusians.

He went on to say that the V4 had also agreed a joint stance on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and discussed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline issue.

"We believe that today it is a project that reduces the security of this part of Europe and should be stopped," Morawiecki said.

The controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline will supply Russian gas directly to Western Europe across the Baltic seabed, bypassing eastern EU members, who see the project as a threat to the region's and the EU's energy security. Currently, a major part of Russian gas is exported to Europe via Ukraine. Criticism of the project has been rising also in Germany after the poisoning of Navalny. Germany's official stance used to be that Nord Stream 2 is a purely economic project. (PAP)