Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle criticized the Government of Belarus' refusal to approve the extension of the mandate for the mission run by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Belarus in due time before the present mandate expires at the end of 2010. He issued the following statement today (31 December):
"The decision to close the OSCE Office is another blow for the rule of law and human rights in Belarus. The authoritarian course adopted by the Government in Minsk is distancing the country ever further from European liberal values. We will talk to our partners without delay about the consequences this policy of self-isolation must have, and about the worrying state of human rights in Belarus."
In the German Government's opinion, the OSCE mission in Belarus has done outstanding work. It implements difficult projects in fields such as border management, combating human trafficking and helping regions damaged by the fallout from Chernobyl. The work of the mission directly benefits the people of Belarus.