Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle made today (20 Dec) the following statement:
“We strongly condemn the violence that has followed yesterday’s presidential elections in Belarus, in particular the beating and detention of several opposition leaders including a number of presidential candidates. The security forces in Minsk have ignored the citizens' rights of expression and of free assembly which are intrinsic to democracy. We call on the Belarussian authorities to immediately release those who have been arrested and to enter into dialogue with the opposition.
When we visited Minsk last month, we urged the Belarussian leadership to hold elections in line with international standards. It is with regret that we note that the findings of the OSCE/ODIHR assessment will not add up to a picture of free and fair elections. This constitutes a severe setback for the democratic ambitions of the people in Belarus.
Respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law is a precondition for increasing the cooperation between the European Union and Belarus. Together with our European colleagues we will now determine the consequences of the recent developments in Minsk for our further policy towards Belarus.”