Belarusan President Alyaksandr Lukashenka yesterday termed Bulgaria’s and Romania’s decisions to grant partial overflight and landing rights for NATO planes in the event of an intervention in Kosovo as “shocking.” The decisions amount to “crawling” before NATO and the European Union by “these former socialist countries, if they may be called that,” Lukashenka commented, seeming on the verge of excluding the two countries from the “former socialist” family. He went on to accuse Bulgaria and Romania of “betraying and defiling our sacred Slavic unity”–lumping Romania with Slavic countries, presumably on account of Orthodoxy. More ominously, he warned that Bulgaria’s and Romania’s “complicity to crime” exposes them to Yugoslav military retaliation. “I believe that Russia shares my view,” he added as if to goad Moscow into backing up his warnings.
On Lukashenka’s orders, two high-level Belarusan delegations–led by presidential administration chief Mikhail Myasnikovich and Security Council Secretary Viktar Sheyman, respectively–are flying today and tomorrow to Serbia in a demonstration of solidarity. The delegations include “Defense Ministry specialists,” the two leaders pointed out (Russian agencies, October 13). Lukashenka has offered twice in recent days to deliver weapons to Yugoslavia (see the Monitor, October 12 and 13).
The Belorussian Patriotic Youth Union, a front organization of the presidential office, expressed the official thinking in a solidarity message to Yugoslavia: “There in the Balkans you are also defending our national interests, containing the offensive of the American ‘new order.’ For centuries the West tried to conquer us, but the enemy was always beaten and victory was ours” (Belapan, October 12). That concluding phrase is a verbatim, though not attributed, quote from Stalin.
MONITORS CRITICIZE AZERBAIJAN’S ELECTORAL PROCEDURES.