The Belarus parliament presidium yesterday summoned president Aleksandr Lukashenko to appear personally in parliament and report on the country’s political and economic situation. Parliament chairman Semyon Sharetsky told the chamber that the invitation was delivered in writing after the president had declined repeatedly to answer telephone calls. Parliament vicechairman Hennadz Karpenka, a well-known entrepreneur, told the chamber that the economic situation "confronts the state with the question of to be or not to be."
Yesterday’s plenary session of the parliament began debating the situation in the Internal Affairs Ministry, pursuant to a request by deputy Viktor Hanchar who also heads the Minsk-based CIS economic court. Hanchar was shot at, and his assistant was wounded, by police fire in unclarified circumstances last week. (See Monitor, June 17). Hanchar and other deputies told yesterday’s session that the incident was deliberate and aimed at intimidating critics of the president. The parliament subjected the pro-Lukashenko internal affairs minister Valyantsin Aholyats to hostile questioning on this matter and also on the arrest of participants in recent demonstrations. General Prosecutor Vasyl Kapitan, who was also summoned, testified that "observance of the laws in the republic is close to zero level." (Interfax, June 19)
Armenia, Greece Sign Military Pact.