Foreign Minister Westerwelle spoke on the phone this afternoon to his Lithuanian counterpart, Audronius Ažubalis, who is currently also OSCE Chairman-in-Office. They discussed today’s invocation of the “Moscow Mechanism” by 14 OSCE states.
An independent fact-finding mission by international experts is to be established under the Moscow Mechanism to investigate threats to human rights, democracy and the rule of law following the Belarusian presidential elections of 19 December 2010. Germany and 13 other OSCE participating states today called on Belarus to permit the fact-finding mission to enter and travel freely around the country.
Foreign Minister Westerwelle had been quick to advocate recourse to the Moscow Mechanism. He issued the following statement in Berlin today:
“The OSCE is a pan-European community of shared values and as such will not tolerate the repressive course adopted by the Belarusian President. The protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms remains an important matter. I expect the Belarusian leadership to let the experts on this fact-finding mission do their work.”
All OSCE states – including Belarus – reaffirmed the OSCE principles at the summit in Astana on 1-2 December 2010. Among other things, member states are accountable to each other for the protection of human rights. Germany and its EU partners have protested repeatedly against the closure of the OSCE Office in Minsk.