In reaction to the fraud ascertained by OSCE/ODIHR during the presidential elections in Belarus and the sentencing of numerous members of the opposition in the wake of the elections, Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement today (22 December):
“The conduct of the Belarusian leadership is driving the country into isolation. The country’s undemocratic and retrograde course is, above all, harming ordinary people in Belarus.
Anyone who manipulates elections and locks up large numbers of people for exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly does not share the values held dear by the European Union. We have stated this in no uncertain terms to the political leadership in Minsk.”
Yesterday the Belarusian Ambassador to Germany, Andrei Giro, was summoned to the Federal Foreign Office. He was informed that the German Government expects the Belarusian leadership to release everyone arrested immediately and to enter into dialogue with the opposition.
Foreign Minister Westerwelle also phoned US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday to discuss the worrying developments in Belarus.