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Thursday, September 15, 2005

In New York president of Belarus to sign Nuclear Terrorism Convention

Today president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has started his working visit to the United States of America.

In New York the head of state will take part in a special high-level plenary meeting of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly, BelTA was told in the president’s press service.

According to deputy foreign minister Viktor Gaisenok, the Belarusian president will sign the Nuclear Terrorism Convention and meet with the UN Deputy Secretary General.

Belarus will benefit from participation in the summit by promoting its political and trade-economic relations with the UN participating states.

In his speach to the United Nations, planned for the morning of the 15th, the president will state the Belarusian stance on global challenges and threats and provide a number of Belarusian initiatives from the UN platform, deputy foreign minister Viktor Gaisenok told a press conference September 14. Initiatives are connected with “hot issues on the international cooperation which position our country as a democratic, independent and actively developing state”, he noted.

“Participation in the summit will be used for holding meetings to intensify bilateral political and trade-economic links with the UN member-states”, Viktor Gaisenok underlined. He also added that “the program will be crowded”.

The governmental delegation at the 60th session of the UN General Assembly in New York will be headed by foreign minister Sergei Martynov. The Belarusian delegation will also support a resolution of the UN General Assembly on lifting an economic, trade and financial blockade against Cuba. This republic will stand for creating necessary prerequisites for further normalization of the interstate relations between the United States and the Republic of Cuba, deputy foreign minister of Belarus Viktor Gaisenok told reporters today.

“Within the framework of the session we will support initiatives aimed at expansion of the global interaction to develop and distribute fairly information-communication technologies and to create a special fund for this purpose under the UN aegis.

According to the preliminary information, heads of Belarusian state and governmental delegations are set to make about 20 meetings in New York, deputy foreign minister Viktor Gaisenok told a news briefing.

“A number of meetings will be held in the course of the work of the UN General Assembly”, he stated.

According to Viktor Gaisenok, New York, within the UN session’s frame, will play host to a political discussion that is to be attended by foreign minister Sergei Martynov. The head of the foreign ministry will speak about the Belarusian approaches to the main problems, in particular, optimization of UN General Assembly’s activities, Security Council reform, etc. Special attention will be drawn to the countries with economies in transition.

About 30 heads of state and government as well as over 120 foreign ministers are expected to take part in the summit.

From Belta
Sergei Martynov will also take part in the traditional meeting of foreign ministers of the Non-Alignment Movement member states.

The Last Summer of the Opposition

The apocalyptic phrase “last summer of the opposition” was the title of an article by Dmitry Drigailo, which prognosticated that after the 2006 presidential elections in Belarus, the political opposition would cease to exist. Either it will come to power or “it will be taken to the prosecutor’s office” in the event that current president, Alexander Lukashenko, is reelected to office.
This summer has been marked by the inability of the national organizational committee to obtain permission to use a building in September that will accommodate at least 700 delegates for the purpose of electing an alternative candidate to Lukashenko at an all-Belarusian Congress of Democratic Forces. The urgency of the convocation of this forum is evident, given that the date of the next presidential elections will be announced in January 2006. The chairman of the organizing committee, Alexander Bukhvostov, noted last month that 80 out of 143 planned meetings had been held to elect delegates, the majority of which are nonparty people, while the United Civic Party occupies the second place. The two leading candidates to emerge -- and the almost certain contenders – are Alexander Milinkevich and Anatoly Lebedko ( See photo of Lebedko above as well as the following story from the UCPB site).Full Text

The UCPB is a political party representing ethnic Belarusian poles and Christain interests. They also have a web based information/news/ advocate site. This was their top English language story today.

Former deputy and the head of the group “Respublika” Syarhei Skrabets is charged with illegal participation in business activities. The Charter’97 press center was informed about that by the lawyer of the oppositional politician, Aleh Dubavets. It is the third article of the Criminal Code, for which violation Syarhei Skrabets is accused. The political prisoner has also been charged with helping defraud a state bank of credits, and inciting a person to give a bribe.
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Belarus: European Commission Plans For Independent Media Come Under Fire In European Parliament

By Ahto Lobjakas

European Parliament deputies representing mostly new member states today attacked plans announced by the European Commission to fund independent radio and television broadcasts to Belarus. Deputies complained that the funds were insufficient, the tendering rules discriminate against countries bordering Belarus, and too much emphasis is being put on the use of Russian language in the putative broadcasts.

Brussels, 14 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The European Commission's plans to fund independent radio and television broadcasts into Belarus were met by harsh and sometimes scathing criticism in the European Parliament's foreign-affairs committee today.

Many members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were particularly scathing about the commission's perceived preference for Russian over Belarusian as the main language for the planned broadcasts.
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Siarhiei Skrabiets on Hunger-strike again
According to RFE/RL

The well-known opposition activist, former chair of the Respublika deputy group Siarhiei Skrabiets has again declared a hunger-strike of protest against the lawless actions of the authorities. RFE/RL found it from his mother, who visited him together with his 13-year-old daughter in the isolator. She said he persuaded him to stop the hunger-strike. The first time he hungered for almost 40 days in Brest investigative isolator, where he was taken on 15 May on suspicion in giving a bribe to an official.


Differences Within Collective Mind

by Valery Panyushkin, columnist

The Organization of United Nations was created after the second world war not as body, which supposed to unite countries, but rather as a club of victors. The five countries - United States, Great Britain, France, USSR and China- have become permanent members of the Security Council. In actuality, there were no other countries on Earth in that time -- the whole land belonged one way or another to the members of Security Council. During the cold war UN was working as refrigerator. It became a place where former allies and now enemies could resolve their problems in expedient manner.

However, lot of things changed since the Cold War. First of all, there are lot of countries appeared in the world that did not affiliated with any members of Security Council. Second, the members of the Security Council changed themselves. For instance, USSR shed so much weight in political sense that it became just Russia. On the other hand, China got fatter.

The serious decisions were made since some time ago not in the UN Security Council, but during the summits of Big 8. In other words, the UN became a low ranking manager who was ordered around to solve practical problems: to feed Iraqis, to stop AIDS, to lower the child mortality. As it supposed to be with the manager, from time to time the organization started to raise suspicions about the integrity and honesty. Let's just take for example an investigation of Oil-for-Food program for Iraq.

So, it is not surprising, that the UN, which was reflecting the political situation of the middle of last century, is slowly dying. It is getting an obsolete, because the political situation changed. The only thing is left to watch is how the UN will die.

There are three possibilities. The Security Council can be joined by four more members: Germany, Japan, India and Brazil. In this case, the newcomers are promising not to use their veto rights for some time. So, the UN will last until this non-veto time will run out.

The second possibility: a bunch of new countries, including the developing, are joining the Security Council. Then, the UN will fall apart right away or will remain as purely ceremonial and ritual organization.

There is a possibility that the Security Council will not be reformed at all. It happens in a hospital when terminally ill patient refuses from the surgery. When doctors are sending such patient home, they know that he is going to die. The only question is remaining - when?

Unfortunately, there is no feasible possibility to reform UN in the way that all nations would unite and the eternal peace would reign on Earth. There are too many nations, their interests are too different and their brains work not the same. To make the negotiations more effective, the big players always sacrifice the interests of small players. And these are the seeds that will grow into new wars. Although, it is wrong to assume that these seeds are sown intentionally. The problem is -- collective mind of humanity cannot contain its own differences.