By: The Associated Press
VIENNA - The new chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation for Europe is calling on Belarus to rethink its closure of the group's mission in the country.
On Dec. 31, Belarus refused to extend the mandate of the OSCE's operations on its turf after the Vienna-based body accused President Alexander Lukashenko of using fraud in Dec. 19 elections to win almost 80 per cent of the vote.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis, the organization's new chairman, said Thursday he deeply regretted Belarus's decision and called on the country to reconsider. He stood by the critical findings of the OSCE election observers.
Lithuania assumed the one-year rotating helm of the 56-nation OSCE on Jan. 1.