President of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly calls for reopening of OSCE Office in Minsk


10 January 2011

The president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has called on the Belarusian authorities to reverse their decision not to extend the mandate of the OSCE Office in Minsk, BelaPAN said.

"The work of this OSCE Office is relevant now more than ever. The OSCE field mission in Belarus is key to maintaining a constructive dialogue with the Organization, and therefore its closure should be averted and we will strive to this end," Petros Efthymiou said in a statement on January 7.

He noted that December's presidential election, which he said was criticized by OSCE observers, as well as the post-election crackdown on Alyaksandr Lukashenka's opponents and independent media "represent a step backwards in the development of democratic governance in Belarus." "Therefore, we stand ready to assist the efforts of the Lithuanian Chairmanship to promote constructive political dialogue with the Government of Belarus, in order to facilitate the resumption of the mission of the OSCE's Office in Minsk," Mr. Efthymiou said.

The Belarusian authorities decided on December 31 to halt the operation of the OSCE Office.

"This is a fully conscious decision based on the absence of objective grounds for the operation of the OSCE mission in Belarus," commented the Belarusian foreign ministry spokesman. "This position was repeatedly voiced as part of the Belarusian side's official statements for many years."

Minsk's decision to close the Office came amid criticism of December's presidential election from the observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

The West has urged Belarus to reopen the OSCE office. Lithuania, which holds the OSCE chairmanship this year, has started diplomatic consultations with Minsk on the matter.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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