30 Sep 2019 17:21

Belarus grants entry to Polish parliament deputy speaker despite being on Russian blacklist

MINSK. Sept 30 (Interfax) - Russia had banned a deputy speaker of the Polish parliament from entering the country and its Union State with Belarus, but local authorities in Belarus have made an exception for the visiting politician, allowing her to cross the border into Belarus.

Malgorzata Gosiewska herself learnt this while crossing into Belarus last night, an Interfax correspondent said. "My border-crossing lasted longer than usual. I was also told that I was not welcome, namely: that I have been banned from entering Russia. The only thing that isn't clear is why I am learning this from Belarusian border guards," Gosiewska was quoted as telling Polskie Radio (Polish Radio).

"An attempt was also made at Belarusian border to check the luggage of the Sejm deputy speaker despite her traveling in the vehicle of the Polish consul general in Grodno," the radio said.

The Belarusian state Border Committee has confirmed that Gosiewska is on the Russian blacklist of individuals unwelcome in the Union State.

"The deputy speaker of the Sejm of Poland, Malgorzata Gosiewska, crossed the Polish-Belarusian border at Berestovitsa checkpoint on September 29. She was informed that she was on the list of persons whose presence in the Union State of Belarus and Russia is banned or undesirable. Because Goseiwska was due to attend formal events in the Grodno region, an exception had been made for her at the authorities' permission and she was let into Belarus. However, the Polish Sejm deputy speaker has been warned about the ban to enter Russia," the committee's spokesman Anton Bychkovsky told Interfax.

"[Gosiewska] was placed on this list at the initiative of competent organs of the Russian Federation," he said, adding that "for the purpose of ensuring security across its territory, the Union State of Belarus and Russia has a single list of individuals whose entry and presence is banned or undesirable."

In Belarus, Gosiewska met with members of the Polish diaspora, Polskie Radio said. "While in Grodno, the deputy speaker laid flowers at the graves of the Poles who in 1939 defended the city from the Soviets. In Vawkavysk, Malgorzata Gosiewska attended the start of a new school year at a Polish school," the report says.