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Speeches, 7/13/2006

Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Permanent Council No. 619
13 July 2006

Mr. Chairman,

The EU has taken note of the presentation by the Ambassador of Belarus. With regard to his comments, the EU would like to recall the following:

Following the 19 March Presidential Elections, the EU expressed its agreement with the assessment of OSCE/ODIHR International Election Observation Mission. The EU deplored that elections had not been held in free and fair manner, had been fundamentally flawed, and supported the conclusions that they had failed to meet OSCE commitments for democratic elections. The EU further condemned the violence used by Belarusian authorities against peaceful protestors and the ensuing arrests of demonstrators and members of the opposition. Consequently on April 10 the European Council adopted restrictive measures against those responsible for the violations of international electoral standards as well as for the crackdown on civil society and democratic opposition. Our position has not changed since then.

In its response to the Director of ODIHR two weeks ago, the EU commended ODIHR for the excellent management of the election related missions. Today, the EU once again reiterates its full confidence and support for the OSCE/ODIHR election related activities.

In its Final Report on the Presidential election in Belarus, ODIHR offered to the Belarusian authorities a comprehensive list of recommendations to assist in improving the electoral process and in meeting election-related OSCE commitments. The EU calls on the authorities in Belarus to take urgent measures to implement ODIHR recommendations and to keep the Permanent Council informed on any progress to this effect. The EU stands ready to assist in this process.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.


Updated 7/13/2006

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