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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
The European Union expresses concern about the situation in Belarus

Date of release : 15-04-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : Informal Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs (Gymnich)

The second point on the agenda of the informal meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the European Union, which was held at the Château de Senningen in Luxembourg on 15 and 16 April 2005, was the situation in Belarus.

The exchange of views focussed on the deterioration of the political situation in that country. According to Jean Asselborn, the Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs and current President of the Council of the European Union, "we have been following for several years with great concern the development of the situation in Belarus, and we have not noted even the slightest improvement, rather the opposite: the regime has made every effort to stifle the last critical voices in this regard and has tightened its hold on all aspects of the political and social life of the country."

According to the President of the Council, "the European Union must take action now by rapidly implementing measures in the short-term to support the opening of society in Belarus. We cannot accept that a country on the frontiers of Europe sinks irremediably into dictatorship."

The Ministers emphasised once again their concern about the situation of Mr Marinich and Professor Bandazhevskii. They also expressed their concern about the intervention by law enforcement officials on 25 March 2005 during a demonstration on the occasion of the "Day of Freedom", the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of Belarus in 1918.

The heads of diplomacy of the European Union reaffirmed their support for civil society, as demonstrated by the European Commission's organisation of a series of three workshops, whose objective was in-depth reflection on the situation in Belarus and the means available to the European Union to influence it. The European Union is currently evaluating the results of these meetings and of developing further its policy, especially in view of the presidential elections set for 2006.

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This page was last modified on : 16-04-2005

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