International economic sanctions imposed against Belarus after the disputed handling of presidential elections late last year will not lead to a change in policy or attitude, the country’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly’s annual general debate today.
Sergei N. Martynov, speaking on the debate’s final day, said Belarusians would never renounce their right of choice.
“Neither sanctions nor blackmail nor threats will alter our stance,” he said.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other senior UN officials expressed concern at the detention and treatment of opposition candidates, their supporters and journalists in the wake of last December’s election, which was won by the incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
Last week the Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang called on Belarus to speedily accept a mission from her office after an earlier report found serious allegations of torture and other human rights violations.
Mr. Martynov, who said Belarus stood ready to develop mutually beneficial relationships with all countries, stressed that global challenges and problems could not be dealt with using traditional tools such as spheres of influence or sanctions.
He called for new forms of cooperation that encompassed two shifts – from the “West to the Rest,” and from States to non-State actors.