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Bildt blasts Belarus over student's expulsion

Published: 09 Dec 2009 07:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Dec 2009 07:40 GMT+01:00

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bidlt found himself embroiled in a verbal spat with his counterpart from Belarus on Tuesday over the questionable expulsion of a university student due to "poor attendance".

The clash came at an otherwise congratulatory press conference following the first meeting of foreign ministers of the EU's new Eastern Partnership initiative.

The focus of the diplomatic spat was Tatsyana Shaputska who, according to Belarus opposition supporters, was thrown out of the Belarusian State University after taking part in a Civil Society forum on the Eastern Partnership in Brussels last month.

"If it is the case that one is thrown out of university just because of participation in this civil forum then that is of course unacceptable in every single way," Bildt said.

At that point Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov chimed in to defend his country's stance.

"Governments do not expel students, it's universities that expel them," he assured.

"The university quoted us her absenteeism," he added.

Bildt was not going to let that comment go unchallenged.

"Although of course it was said that the university had been contacted by state security bodies," he reminded the assembled ministers and journalists.

"It might be that state security bodies were concerned with absentee rates but that is not normally what state security bodies do," he added.

His Belarusian counterpart remained silent at this stage.

The EU launched the Eastern Partnership at a summit in Prague in May to "accelerate political association and further economic integration" between its 27 member states and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Last month European Union nations agreed to seek improved ties with Belarus, deemed the democratic laggard of the group, and refrained from enforcing a travel ban on its leaders.

The move is subject to Belarus improving democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as the EU strives to keep pressure on Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko -- once dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by the United States.

Lukashenko has ruled the ex-Soviet republic of 10 million people since 1994 but has now made attempts at greater openness -- including the hiring of a Western PR firm and cautious economic reform.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:08 December 9, 2009 by Nemesis
Bilt needs to shut up. Everytime he has opened his mouth recently he has caused problems.

Belarus is a country that we in Europe need to engage with, build up business ties slowly and break the old system down, from the inside. Russia will not tolerate a fast revolution in Belarus. It has to change slowly for it to be acceptable to Russia.

A ranting, raving Swede from 08 creating problems and making a moron of himself is not needed in Belarus.

We used to have these political idiots running around Belfast in up to the mid 90's. They are morons who go out of there way to meet psychopaths, then tell there friends back in Stockholm how cool they were for meeting a nutjob, usually while sharing a joint.

I am glad they deported him. Now maybe a few of us can get back to importing goods from Belarus, building up ties and slowly trying to change things in a practical way on the ground, without interference form imbeciles from 08.

I have imported furniture from Belarus. Two of my friends have done so recently as well. It is high quality, very strong and hand carved. The workmanship is excellent.

We need to find a smooth uneventful way to bring Belarus closer to Europe and change it from the inside.

Morons from 08 who want to meet people they think are cool or take part in demonstrations should go back to Sweden and find a psychiatrist to cure them.
08:21 December 9, 2009 by krow
@Nemesis: What are you talking about. If the reason for the expulsion is that he attended any meeting deem to be against the state or EU then it must be rejected and spoken against. Free speech is still alloyed.
08:37 December 9, 2009 by Texrusso
@Nemesis Carl Bidlt is an excelllent diplomat! And he always is. Well spoken and points well taken by Carl Bidlt. @Nemesis, shut da f-c-kup and stop writing jagons. University matters should not be interfered by state security police. It is outrageous and violates civil rule and civil rights of World Citizens.
08:37 December 9, 2009 by Rebel
So Bildt can shoot his mouth off about a student getting suspended in another country but cannot make a statement questioning the appropriateness of an groundless, anti-Israeli newspaper story in Aftonbladet -- a newspaper IN SWEDEN?
09:50 December 9, 2009 by EtoileBrilliant
@Rebel "Hear hear".

Bildt is acting less as if he was part of the government and more as if he were a one man show shooting off sound bites. There are more pressing problems that require his keen attention such as Afghanistan.
10:21 December 9, 2009 by Kevin Harris
Karl Bildt is the foreign minister for a country with a long tradition of bravely speaking up for the oppressed. Sometimes that tradition has cost Sweden dearly (Sweden's position on the Vietnam War for example). It is a Swedish foreign minister's job to raise issues like this, and Bildt did seem to embarass Belarus' foreign minister before his peers. Maybe Foreign Minister, Sergei Martynov will tell his thuggish security services to stop intimidating students, and maybe brave Tatsyana Shaputska will get her university place back. I am sure we all on this thread hope so.
10:35 December 9, 2009 by Tutu
The same swedish people suck up to the Russians. Would he have done the same to Russia Foreign Minister
11:18 December 9, 2009 by Kaethar
@Rebel: Lol at you trolls. It's not his job to comment on newspaper articles. It's his job to comment on POLITICS.
12:36 December 9, 2009 by Uncle
Rebel - excellent point! He was sceaming to the entire world about the inappropriateness of the government expressing its opinion on false publications of a guy who is sponsored by the government, but he thinks it is appropriate to get involved into the internal business of a university in another country in regards to a decision it made about that country's national...

What a duality of standards... Embarassing
12:55 December 9, 2009 by Nemesis
I have friends in Belarus. They have filled me in on Tatsiana Shaputska. My friends all want to be in the EU as soon as possible and for the Malady Front to leave. They see her as actually worse than Russia, as they have seen the real face of the malady front, with there christian fundementalism.

She is a right wing fundementalist nutjob. Her malady front is an extreme right wing christian organisation with mysterious funding sources.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malady_Front

There aim is not democracy, more like a fundementlist state with full scale inquisition.

They claim to want Belarus integrated into the EU. They leave out that they want the EU to change to suit them first.

I have encountered people like this before. If you want to follow her, go ahead. Just remember you will be following the road to hell, literally.
19:55 December 9, 2009 by israeli
after about 64 years of relative sanity of the european sovereigns ( since 1945) the old imperialistic habits of once monarchs and emperors raise their head.

look at what i found in the governmental intenet site:

"Carl Bildt receives award for his contributions to the enhancement of the European Union's global standing".

not for his "brave struggle to help the poors of his country", not for his "sending aide to poor foreign countries" but for his global aspirations.

open a history book of 200 or 300 years ago and you will find similar awards only for "the enhancement of the swedish empire global standing".

the imperialistic tendencies of europe leaders have never ceased. now they just manifest by the blasting of other weak european countries unless they join the coersive "union" of europe which is just a new kind of beaurocratic dictatorship that harrass all who do not yield to its will. they blast the americans who saved their democracy in 1945, they blast israel the homeland of the jews who were butchered by the european culture for milleniums, they blast belarus who happen not to be like the EU wants it to be, and god only knows who will be on their path to "glory" next.

do not be fooled by the pretentions of the european leaders to be the promoters of human rights around the earth, they, headed by poeple like this Bildt seek only power over as many poeple as they can, and they will drive all over the body of whoever oppose them. they will eventually destroy europe and nothing good will stem to its citizens. now they are nice for they still havent got all the power they want, but once the brussle clerks will get they aim, every man and woman in stokholm or copenhagen will lose they freedom. you are all blind just like you were in hitler time. hail bildt!
20:28 December 9, 2009 by Lasteg
I'm from Belarus.

When you live here for some time you don't notice such a things - that's a minimum that can happen.

By the way, this girl is not brave - it's just a girl, and as everybody she lost to the goverment.

You know, only in movies you can fight the sistem, the sistem like this one. ))

Send me an invitation and I will com to work to Sweden and you can get an award for helping the other, but none will do it ever )
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