THE LEADER of the Belarus opposition and the winner of this year's Sakharov Prize, Alexander Milinkievic, asked for even greater support in the battle for freedom, democracy and adherence to human rights laws in Belarus during a visit to Bratislava on December 10.
At the same time, the unsuccessful joint opposition candidate who faced the authoritarian Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in March's presidential election, thanked Slovakia for the assistance it has provided to date.
"We beg Slovakia to be our ambassador in Brussels. You, more than many others, know the problems we are experiencing ... of course, we ourselves must bring freedom to our country, but with the help of other democratic states we will do it much faster," Milinkievic told journalists after meeting the chairmen of the parliamentary committees on legal affairs (Boris Zala - Smer-SD) and human rights (László Nagy - SMK).
Slovakia’s three top constitutional representatives – President Ivan Gašparovič, Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška and Prime Minister Robert Fico – did not meet the Belarus opposition leader.
Slovak Foreign Minister Ján Kubiš, at a meeting with Milinkievic, expressed support for the democratic forces in Belarus. Kubiš declared that Slovakia will pursue this co-operation in tandem with civil society in Belarus and the NGO sector in Slovakia.
Milinkievic visited Bratislava at the invitation of the Slovak Pontis Foundation, and was awarded the Sakharov Prize for human rights by the European Parliament in Strasbourg on December 11.
Milinkievic was the joint candidate of the United Democratic Forces for the post of president on March 19 in Belarus. These elections were described by the EU, the US, the Council of Europe and the OECD as undemocratic, manipulated and invalid.