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EU declares Belarus elections “neither free nor fair”

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In a strongly-worded statement, the European Union, through its High Representative, has condemned developments in Belarus, saying that the people of Belarus had clearly demonstrated the desire for democratic change. However, the elections were neither free nor fair as credible reports of domestic observers show that the electoral process did not meet the international standards expected of an OSCE participating State.

The Union said that Belarus authorities deployed disproportionate and unacceptable violence causing at least one death and many injuries. “Thousands of people were detained and the crackdown on freedoms of assembly, media and expression intensified.”

The EU called on the Belarusian authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all detained. It added that against this background, it will be assessing the Belarusian authorities’ actions to address the current situation and conducting an in-depth review of the EU’s relations with Belarus. This may include, inter alia, taking measures against those responsible for the observed violence, unjustified arrests, and falsification of election results.

“We call on Belarusian political leadership to initiate a genuine and inclusive dialogue with broader society to avoid further violence. The EU will continue to support a democratic, independent, sovereign, prosperous and stable Belarus”, the statement concluded.

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