Meeting with working group to discuss draft Constitution
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with the working group that is drafting a new version of the Constitution of Belarus to review its activity on 15 November.
“I hope that today's meeting will be our final one. The goal of today's meeting is to bring together all the suggestions, to create the final shape of the updated Basic Law. We need to ensure its provisions constitute a single and coherent system,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The President drew the attention of the working group members to the fact that any political innovations must ultimately create conditions for the development of sovereign Belarus and the wellbeing of its citizens.
“All the proposals on the key issues, which we have repeatedly discussed before and will continue to discuss today, will be submitted to the members of the Constitutional Commission. We will need to thoroughly prepare for it,” the head of state stressed.
“I think it is also necessary to conduct a large-scale opinion poll on this topic covering various regions and population groups, like we did in the run-up to the Belarusian People’s Congress,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
The President emphasized that it is important for the authorities to know what people think about the constitutional reform and other issues that are critical for the country’s development.
At the meeting Aleksandr Lukashenko also spoke about the ongoing migration crisis on the border of Belarus with the European Union. The support of people in a difficult situation has been under President’s control. The head of state denied the accusations against Belarus about blocking access to humanitarian aid for refugees at the border.
"The Belarus President Administration should respond more effectively to the events that are taking place in Belarus, so that our people understand what is happening. They (especially the Poles) have already accused us that we block access to the humanitarian aid and do not provide it to refugees rapped on the state border," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the President, such accusations against Belarus are beyond weird. Earlier the head of state instructed to streamline and organize the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid to refugees at the border. “I have been dealing with this issue the whole weekend. All the instructions I gave have been fulfilled. We feed children and pregnant women. We deliver firewood and everything they need,” he said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Belarus has been doing its best to prevent refugees from gathering on the state border. Moreover, the President said, Belarus is ready to fly the refugees, who have changed their mind to make it to the European Union, back to their homeland.
“We are ready to put them on planes, including the Belavia ones, and take them back home. These people do not want to go back however. It is understandable: they have nowhere to return. They have nowhere to live there, nothing to feed their children with. Moreover, some people fear for their lives in their home countries. I want you to understand that active work is underway to persuade people to go back home. No one wants to do it,” said the head of state.
The President also mentioned the recent proposal of Munich to accept the refugees trapped on the Belarusian-Polish border. Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that 2,000 or 3,000 migrants is not a problem for the European Union. "If the Poles are not providing a humanitarian corridor, if they are preventing this, then Belavia can take them to Munich. What's the problem? What kind of offer is this: ‘You provide a humanitarian corridor via Poland, and we will take them in.’ We can fly them out to Munich if necessary," the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that accusing Belarus of facilitating illegal migration is total nonsense.
According to the President, in recent months Belarus has denied entry to the country to several thousand illegal migrants, and this is easy to verify. “If the Germans or Americans want to check it, let them do it, the airport keeps track of every passenger,” the head of state added.
“Facilitating a migration flow through Belarus is more trouble than it is worth. We have never done this and do not intend to do it. They are trying to intimidate us with sanctions. Okay, we will see. They think that I did not mean what I said. Nothing of this kind. We will defend ourselves. We have nowhere to retreat,” the President emphasized.
“This is so you know what is happening and what we have to do in order to preserve calm and peace in our society,” the head of state said explaining why he mentioned the migrant crisis and the sanctions. According to him, every day a large flow of tourists and other foreign citizens passes through Belarus. “This is a boiler where the atmosphere is charged. In no case should any tensions be created here. Nevertheless, the Constitution is one of the opportunities our self-exiled opposition is trying to use to once again destabilize the situation here. I must say that they will fall flat. This time they will fail completely,” the President said.
“We will respond to the sanctions. This is not even up for discussion,” the head of state assured.
"Our journalists and others make correct conclusion that it is Poland who needs this conflict today. They have enough internal problems, issues with the European Union and hence they are aggravating tensions, start shooting at the state border,” the President said. “I would like to reiterate that we do not want any conflict on our state border. We have absolutely nothing to gain from this."
"We do not need these poor people to wander around Minsk, Grodno stressing out our people, and especially on the state border where our border guards are working overtime," the Belarusian leader stressed.
The head of state noted that Belarus has organized the protection of a camp with thousands of migrants. "We are forced to protect to make sure weapons do not make their way there. I have already said this many times, but they continue churning out these reproaches," the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that the tensions around the migrant camp on the border are being deliberately fueled up, including with the hope of involving Russia in this conflict. "It is clear that the situation on the state border is being aggravated, and it is clear with what goal. We understand this very well. No wonder they try to drag Russia and Putin into this. It is clear that the goal is to escalate the tensions," the President stated.
In this regard, he drew attention to the recent events in the Black Sea, noting that this issue was among the topics that he discussed in a recent telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Look at what they are being in the Black Sea.The Russian President and I had a long talk on this issue yesterday. What the Americans and NATO forces are doing in the Black Sea is very wrong. They are deliberately fueling up the situation. We are not little boys to succumb to their incomprehensible movements,” the Belarusian leader said.
The President slammed all the accusations that Belarus is benefiting from the migrant crisis as silly and groundless. The same applies to all the allegations regarding Belarus’ manufacturing the situation as well as the allegations that Aleksandr Lukashenko makes the West play by his rules. “So don't play this game! Do the opposite. They say they need to take these migrants and they will knock Lukashenko’s best card out of his hands. So, do this. Accept the migrants, and Lukashenko will have no trump cards in his hands. What kind of nonsense is this? They say whatever comes to their heads,” the President said.
The head of state stressed that Belarus has been providing the humanitarian aid to migrants at the border and thanked the senators for their work. “Well done! The senators have organized humanitarian aid, tents, medical assistance,” the President said. According to him, more than 200 people have already received medical assistance.
“To say that we are preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid is complete madness. If not for the humanitarian aid, half of these people would have died there,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said denying another piece of fake news about the migrant crisis.
“I believe that what Europeans are doing now will backfire on them in the spring,” the Belarusian leader said.
The head of state explained that he touched upon the situation with migrants on the border because “it is one of the pressing issues currently on the agenda”. As for other important topics that have been under the President's control lately (the harvest and food security), the situation is stable. “Belarus is doing fine on these fronts,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.