Austria - Spindelegger calls for free and fair presidential elections in Belarus

Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Voronetsky in Vienna for talks

"We appeal to the Belarusian government to ensure a positive environment in the runup to the presidential elections in December, so that these can take place in a free and fair manner in accordance with the OSCE standards", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger at the sidelines of today's meeting with the Belarusian Deputy Foreign MinisterValery Voronetsky.

Voronetsky had come to Vienna for a political exchange of opinions with high-ranking representatives of the Foreign Ministry on bilateral and European issues. "Austria and the European Union would welcome closer relations with Belarus, yet to this end Minsk must be prepared to meet certain expectations, in particular in the area of human rights and democracy. In this context, the EU will be closely monitoring the presidential elections in December", stated the Foreign Minister, adding that "We have no interest in an isolation of Belarus. Especially in the case of a European neighbour, however, it is necessary to insist on the implementation of fundamental values and standards to allow for a long-lasting and fruitful cooperation."

In view of Austria's considerable economic engagement in Belarus, Minister Spindelegger expressed the hope that cooperation would further intensify. "We hope that the newly established Belarusian Investment and Privatisation Agency will facilitate market access and reduce red tape for Austrian companies", the Minister concluded.


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