Expert: Milinkevich's meeting in Prague is a sign for Belarus authorities

Alexander Milinkevich, the leader of For Freedom movement, has met in Prague with Czech foreign minister Jan Kohout to discuss the development of relations between Belarus and the European Union.

Milinkevich's press service reported that during the meeting which lasted for almost one hour "a wide range of issues associated with the development of relations between Belarus and EU was discussed".

The polticians agreed that in 2010 the Czech Republic would continue the programs to support people who are persecuted for political reasons and to invite Belarusian students to study at Czech universities. However, Milinkevich and Kohout have declined detailed comments to the media.

Czech foreign ministry's spokesman Milan Rzepka said: "I can only say that the minister talked with Milinkevich about a good cooperation between EU and Belarus. The both sides agreed that there has been a success of the political dialogue at the governmental level. Milinkevich told vice premier that Belarus was very satisfied by the support of the Czech Republic during Czech's presidency of the European Union. Milinkevich also said that it was good news for Belarus to take part in EU's Eastern Partnership program. Our minister said that the Czech Republic wished to continue programs supporting the independent media in Belarus".

The European Radio for Belarus and Belsat satellite TV channel were mentioned in the context of the programs to support the independent media in Belarus.

Journalist Paval Mazheika who was part of the delegation together with Alexander Milinkevich and Uladzimir Navasiad describes the contacts with the Czech side as very fruitful: "These are the working meetings and contacts when apart from diplomatic statement about democracy, the freedom of speech and the European integration, the sides discuss very concrete issues indeed. And the decisions that are taken have been approved by the both sides".

Commentator Roman Yakovlevsky reckons that this is an important meeting that proves that Belarus remains in the focus of Europe.

Roman Yakovlevsky: "Firstly, the Czech foreign minister is a member of government, while Milinkevich is not, It means they have different political weight. But, the fact of the meeting is a sign for Belarus authorities".

The Czech Republic is the last EU country that has not ratified the Lisbon Treaty, and European leaders are not satisfied with the stubborness of the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus. But there is nothing extraordinary that the meeting between Milinkevich and the Czech minister took place now, in the view of Yakovlevsky.