End financial aid to Belarusian regime

20 December 2010

End financial aid to Belarusian regime

'All members of the opposition and all journalists in Belarus must be freed’, says SP Member of Parliament and foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel in response to the political situation in the eastern European country. ‘Furthermore, the EU should not be offering Belarus financial aid. According to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the government of Belarus interfered with the counting of votes from the elections which took place on Sunday 19th December. In addition, during the elections there were a number of irregularities.’ Moneys had been ear marked for Belarus in the framework of a cooperation programme with the EU.

Harry van BommelAfter initially optimistic signals regarding a relaxation of measures limiting the freedom of organisation and expression for the elections, the reality turned out to be that nothing had changed. Irregularities ensured that the current president, who has been in power for sixteen years, would be re-elected. The Belarusian opposition organised a protest meeting in the capital, Minsk, following the closure of the polls, at the end of which at least a thousand people were arrested, including a number of presidential candidates. Some were ill-treated. ‘This is not the first time that a wave of repression has hit the Belarusian opposition after an election,’ says Van Bommel. ‘It is of the greatest importance that a recount is carried out or that fresh elections are held, so that it is clear what the real result is.’

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