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The Belarusian Embassy in Brussels opened under a white-red-white flag


Uladzimir Astapenka, Deputy Head of NAM, recounted the establishment of the Belarusian Embassy in Belgium in 1995.

During that time, in March 1995, Lukashenko himself attended the opening, marking his first and only official visit to Brussels. He engaged in meetings with Belgian leadership and the European Union, signing a partnership and cooperation agreement. However, this agreement never came into effect as its ratification was halted after the unconstitutional referendum of 1996.

Prior to the opening, an ambassador was appointed to Brussels, commencing their work essentially from scratch. Initially, they rented an apartment in a high-rise building, where their efforts began. Later, a separate house was found, which was eventually purchased and renovated to suit the needs of the embassy. As Minister-Counselor of the Belarusian Embassy in Belgium, I actively participated in the process. For the embassy's inauguration, they commissioned a large edition of a splendid postcard, featuring an artist's impressionist depiction of the embassy building with our national flag proudly displayed. And I still have a picture before my eyes - an old building with a white-red-white flag.

After the infamous 1995 referendum, where Lukashenko changed our national symbols to the red and green palette of the BSSR era, instructions were issued to replace the flags. However, the embassy hesitated to immediately remove the white-red-white flag, which continued to adorn the building for a significant period.

Today, in Brussels, there is a representation of the Belarusian society - of the majority, who took to the streets in 2020 under thousands of white-red-white flags to protest against dictatorship and violence. Our national flag proudly flies at the Mission of Democratic Belarus in Brussels. 

This institution's vital work serves as a crucial stepping stone towards the day when national flags will flutter over Belarusian embassies worldwide, unyieldingly standing as a symbol that cannot be taken down.

 

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