Belarus to become priority in Polish foreign policy: deputy FM

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński said in an interview with Plus Minus weekly that "Belarus will be among Poland's absolute priorities in the coming years."

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Mr Jabłoński stated that without a true offer of partner-like relations, there will be no chance of linking Belarus with the core of Central Europe.

The official admitted that Poland is strongly focused on Ukraine, with which "it has a difficult past," but added that it should also remember Belarus, with which "it has a difficult present day." He also added that "it is visible that the Belarusian president is seeking an offer from the West."

"I am convinced that the Belarusian issue will be of key importance," he said.

He admitted that Belarus was sending Poland some signals, even though they were contradictory. "We have been told by our businessmen that cooperation does not go as smoothly as it should. But on the other hand, we have signals that Belarus is interested in Poland's stronger presence in its economic sphere. And this brings [us] closer in other relations," he said.

He also added that Poland had to take into account political standards in Belarus. "It would be easier if the Belarusian authorities gradually eased the political regime," he explained.

According to Mr Jabłoński, one should look at Belarus' possible rapprochement to the West from two different angles. He said that it is necessary "to present requirements, which Belarus should meet in order to join us like a partner, or to have a more pragmatic attitude and focus on concrete matters in exchange for gradual political reforms."