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Sweden Backs Sanctions Proposal on Belarus

Published fredag 24 mars 2006 kl 11.13
Belarusian police officers detain protesters in the capital of Minsk

Sweden, along with Denmark, Poland, Slovakia, and the Baltic states have backed a proposal (initiated by the Czech foreign minister) to impose sanctions on Belarus after its disputed elections.

Belarus’ long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko was swept back into office in Sunday’s presidential election claiming over 80 percent of the vote, but the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the main Western monitoring organisation, has said the poll was neither free nor fair.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the OSCE of instigating tensions over the presidential election in Belarus.

Decisions on exactly how to extend the measures are expected to be taken by EU foreign ministers at their next regular talks, scheduled to be held on April 10th in Luxembourg.

EU Calls for Belarusian Authorities to Release Protestors

The European Union’s Austrian presidency called on the Belarusian authorities to release protestors arrested in the night and respect the freedom to assemble.

The Belarusian Ambassador to Sweden, Andrei Grinkevich, told Swedish Radio that he had no doubt that the protestors would be released.

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