During his speech at the Summit for Democracy, an online summit organized by U.S. President Joe Biden, Polish President Andrzej Duda referred to the situation in Belarus.
“Four weeks after my re-election when over 20 million Poles used their right to vote, our neighbors, Belarusians, were once again deprived of that right in the most brutal way possible,” Duda said.
He emphasized, that 180 kilometers away from Warsaw, on the Polish-Belarusian border, “the border of democracy was also located”.
The summit included the participation of the leaders of 100 countries. The leader of the Belarusian opposition Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya also took part in the event together with president Duda.
The Polish president explained that in Belarus there was no discussion over the election system, growing polarization, the plight of ethnic minorities, or ideology. Open disucssion on these issues are a privilege of the people from the West, according to Duda.
“Over there, they worry about how to free 900 people from prisons whose only crime was the desire for free elections. And how to remove a dictator from power who has ruled for 27 years and had rigged elections and pacified protests while breaking all civilized rules,” he stated.
Duda emphasized that many years ago, Poland had taken up the responsibility to be the support for democracy in Eastern Europe and has drawn the ire of Moscow propaganda for doing so.
“I was asked for a commitment and therefore, I give an earnest declaration to our Belarusian brothers and I want it to be heard everywhere East of Poland: we will remain a promotor of democracy because I believe that my daughter who was born in 1995, who had never lived in a dictatorship and her Belarusian peer, who has never seen free elections, are equal people with the same rights,” he declared.
The president also stressed, that “the 180,000 Belarusians who found work or shelter in Poland will be treated by us like brothers and dearest guests.”
Duda also added that he was aware of the price Poland was paying for this aid. He pointed to the migration crisis on the border caused by Belarus.
“I call upon all of you to show solidarity in this matter – I appeal for solidarity with Belarus. This is one of the most important challenges of the democratic world,” he said.