Brussels, Belgium / Minsk, Belarus
The members of the European Parliament have voted on the agreed draft of the resolution on Belarus with minor edits. The draft has been presented on January 19th, 2011. The European Parliament urges the EU institutions to consider targeted economic sanctions and the freezing of all the macrofinancial aid provided to Belarus, to re-apply the visa ban on the Belarusian leading authorities and to suspend Belarusian participation in the Eastern Partnership activities. It also suggests supporting independent media and expresses its opinion that the World Ice Hockey Championship should not be held in Belarus while there are political prisoners in the country.
The names of four ex-presidential candidates, who are still in the KGB prison - Andrey Sannikav, Uladimir Neklyaev, Nikolai Statkevich, Ales Mikhalevich - have been mentioned in the resolution upon Jacek Protasiewicz's suggestion. It is also stated in the resolution, that the European Parliament is "deeply concerned about the physical condition of Nikolai Statkevich, who has been on a hunger strike for more than 30 days", upon the suggestion of Justas Paleckis.
In the adopted resolution the European Paliament:
Calls on the Council, the Commission and the EU High Representative to review EU policy towards Belarus including consideration of targeted economic sanctions and the freezing of all the macrofinancial aid provided via IMF loans as well as lending operations by the EIB and EBRD programs;
Calls on the Commission to support, with all financial and political means, the efforts of Belarusian civil society, independent media (including TV Belsat, European Radio for Belarus, Radio Racja and others) and non-governmental organizations in Belarus to promote democracy and oppose the regime; sees the necessity to step up and facilitate the relations of Belarusian NGOs with the international NGO community; at the same time calls on the Commission to halt ongoing cooperation and to withdraw its assistance provided to the state-owned media in Belarus;
Urges the Commission to continue and increase financial aid to the European Humanities University (EHU) based in Vilnius, Lithuania, to increase the number of scholarships for Belarusian students, repressed for their civic activities and expelled from universities;
Calls on the Council, the Commission and the EU High Representative to immediately re-apply the visa ban on the Belarusian leading authorities expanding it to the state officials, members of judiciary and security officers who can be considered responsible for the vote-rigging and post-election brutal repressions and arrests of the members of the opposition and to freeze their assets abroad; points out the sanctions should remain in force minimum until all political prisoners and detainees are released and exempted from charges;
Calls on the Council to consider the possibility of suspending Belarusian participation in the Eastern Partnership activities at the Eastern Partnership summit in Budapest if it there is not an acceptable explanation and considerable improvement of the situation in Belarus; this suspension not apply to NGOs and civil society.
Apart from the above, the resolution:
Calls on to conduct new election "free and fair, in accordance with the OSCE standards";
Condemns the the use of brutal force by the police and KGB services against the protesters on the Election Day of December 19th, 2010 and in particular expresses its indignation over a brutal attack on Mr Nekliayev, expresses concern by the "attempts of the Belarusian authorities to take Daniil Sannikov, a 3-year-old son of Andrey Sannikov and Irina Khalip, who are in detention since December 19th to the state's custody ";
Strongly condemns arrests and detentions of peaceful protesters and the majority of presidential candidates, leaders of the democratic opposition, and also a big number of civil activists, journalists, teachers and students, who face up to 15 years of imprisonment;
Calls on to withdraw all the politically motivated charges and conduct an independent objective international investigation under the OSCE auspices;
Demands immediate and unconditional release of the detainees, including those recognized by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience; calls on the Belarusian authorities to provide unhindered access of the detainees to their families, legal and medical assistance;
Condemns repressions and calls on the Belarusian authorities to immediately stop all forms of the repressions and harassment of the civil society activists, including attacks, searches and confiscation of materials in private apartments, offices of the media outlets and the civil society organizations, expulsions from universities and workplaces;
Expresses its opinion that sport events, like the World Ice Hockey Championships in 2014, should not be held in Belarus while there are political prisoners in that country;
Regrets the move on the part of the Russian Federation in recognising the elections and description of the repression as an "internal affair?".
Meantime, Belarus will receive subsidies from Russia in the volume of 4 billion 124 million dollars through duty-free oil supplies. This was announced on Thursday, January 20th, 2011 in Moscow by the head of the Russian government Vladimir Putin after talks with his Belarusian counterpart Mikhail Myasnikovich.
The same day in Minsk the dictator Lukashenko ordered to his puppet government to deal with the EU and the U.S. sanctions with the toughest response. "No one is allowed to oppress and block our country - whether it's a separate group of countries or even the whole European Union", - stressed Alexander Lukashenko.
According to him, "today we should consider carefully all measures to protect our sovereignty, economic and geopolitical interests. In this connection Lukashenko stated that he is waiting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs "Some concrete proposals to combat anti-Belarusian campaign abroad. "
So-called president stated that "enemies of our country started a powerful attack from outside, foreign media launched a fierce information campaign against our country."
"We are threatened by sanctions. So what? We have already tried this. If Europe, America and some people still want to do the same mistake again - the Lord be with them. If the Europeans who are so zealously protecting our scumbags [ former presidential candidates, M.B. ] and their lives, they do it just to sell their so called democracy within EU and each country. Well, today the Europeans do not have their own problems? Above the roof! Americans do not have their own problems? Fix your own problems first!"- Lukashenko shared his thoughts with his accomplices.
The General Secretary of the Socialist International Luis Ayala called Belarusian authorities to immediately release all political prisoners!
"All I heard about the authorities' response to mass demonstration of protest, and the consequences of those events are unacceptable - said Ayala on January 20th, 2011 at a press conference in Minsk. - More than 700 people were arrested and beaten up. Ex-presidential candidates have already spent a month in KGB jails. They have not allowed lawyers to visit them. This does not happen in any country. The international community expects that all those arrested will be released today."
Ayala said that former presidential candidates were arrested in Belarus during the last two presidential elections. "This should not become a system in Belarusian politics. I have never seen arrests of presidential candidates in any other country of the world. Election - itself is an open process. Candidates? arrests - this is something shocking for the world community."