RUSSIALINK: “Lukashenko declares readiness for dialogue with ‘reasonable’ opposition members” – Interfax

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

MINSK. Aug 27 (Interfax) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has announced that he is ready to establish a dialogue with labor collectives, students, and “reasonable” members of the opposition, but said that won’t happen under the pressure of street protests.

“Let us sit down, representatives of all labor collectives, student collectives (these are the future elites of our country, and we should maintain a dialogue with them, as well), and labor collectives which are continuing to work no matter what. Farmers also have a say, and workers want to speak up, same as specialists at those enterprises, and teachers, and doctors. Not the rogues who are committing outrages, roaming the streets and shouting that they want dialogue. They don’t want any dialogue. No one from the authorities is sitting down with street protesters,” the Belarusian state-run news agency BelTA quoted Lukashenko as saying.Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“If there are reasonable people in the opposition who see their country as free and independent, they are welcome to express their stance, but not in the street. There will be no dialogue in Belarus under pressure coming from the streets,” he said.

Dialogue with the public may include an updated constitution, among other issues, Lukashenko said. He said he views labor collectives as primary partners in dialogue. “If anyone wants dialogue, you’re welcome. For instance, student collectives are collectives with which I’m ready to establish a dialogue. Please, appoint your representatives, and dialogue will begin,” Lukashenko said.

“Everyone wants a new political structure. No worries, let’s work on the constitution, submit your proposals, and we’ll prepare a new constitution, the fundamental law of every state. It is the constitution that we should rely on in our work,” he said.