Foreign Ministry’s statement on situation in Belarus
It is in our interests to foster a good neighborly relationship with Belarus built on mutual respect and trust. However, this also depends on the will and actions of our neighboring country.
We are closely following the presidential election campaign in Belarus with great concern, including the selective registration of presidential candidates and a new wave of political repression — massive crackdown on the opposition, civil society, political opponents and candidates, the independent media and bloggers. Hundreds of people have been arrested. Recent events show that Belarus has increasingly shed the façade of democratic practice.
We call on the leaders of Belarus to ensure a competitive electoral environment, secure free and fair elections, to release all those arrested, as well as to protect fundamental freedoms and human rights. Continued political repressions and a possible increase in the number of new political prisoners will influence further relations between the European Union and Belarus. However, peaceful, free and fair presidential elections would promote democracy in Belarus, strengthen the country’s sovereignty and independence.
On many occasions, the Belarusian leadership has publicly announced that it was ready to follow the recommendations of international institutions, as well as affirmed its agreement on the international review of the implementation of recommendations set out in the National Action Plan regarding the EU stress tests. However, there has been no real progress in this area so far. We call on Belarus to cooperate with the EU on nuclear safety and environmental protection in implementing the Ostrovets nuclear power plant (NPP) project, and not to start the operation of the NPP hastily, but to direct the efforts of all Belarusian institutions towards meeting the nuclear safety and environmental requirements.
As the closest neighbor of Belarus, we are anxiously watching the situation of COVID-19 pandemic in the country and have already provided appropriate humanitarian assistance.