Belarus-Poland: Will Tusk be allowed in now?

Donald Tusk who led his Civic Platform party to victory in Poland’s early general elections and made it clear he wants to become a new prime minister, has been on Belarus’s no-entry list. While the Union of Belarusian Poles is still expecting him in Hrodna, will the Belarus government change its mind?

The Polish minority group in Belarus invited Donald Tusk to visit Hrodna on November 11 to attend the Poland’s Independence Day celebrations. In August, the Belarusian border guards turned him away.

Back then, Belarus’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Vanshyna explained that “there is a list of persons whose presence in Belarus is not welcome”.

Today, the foreign ministry declines a comment on the situation.

“As for the travel to Belarus, this situation is not commented on, just like anywhere in the world. About the Polish elections, we can say only one thing: the Poles have made their choice. Our country has always been in favor of good neighborhood relations with all the neighboring nations”.

The Belarusian authorities may cross his name out of “black lists”, if Tusk wants to come to Minsk with an official visit.

However, Bogdan Klich, Civic Platform’s member of the European Parliament told the European Radio for Belarus that the dialogue between Poland and the official Minsk could be continued only after Lukashenka met Europe’s conditions.

“I am deeply convinced that Poland will continue to support pro-democracy groups in Belarus. At the same time, we are ready for a dialogue with Lukashenka on condition that he meets Europe’s demands”.

Anzhalika Borys, the leader of the Union of Poles in Belarus, told the European Radio for Belarus that on August 15, 2007 Tusk was on his way to Hrodna to join the Polish Army Day celebrations.

“For 19 years, the Union of Poles traditionally organizes festivities to mark the Polish Army Day anniversary. Many Poles who defended Warsaw are buried at a Hrodna cemetery. Around 500 people gathered for a celebration. We invited Mr. Tusk to come, but he and Polish parliament vice-speaker Krzysztof Puta were denied entry to Belarus”, Borys said.

The Union of Poles in Hrodna is expecting Polish politicians in November. However,
Anzhalika Borys cannot confirm if Donald Tusk will be among them.

“I know that they want to come, because we are organizing celebrations on November 11, Poland’s Independence Day. I can’t say yet who exactly from the Polish politicians is going to attend”.