Germany warns Belarus after opposition activists jailed

Berlin - Germany summoned the Belarus ambassador in Berlin for a protest and has warned Minsk that the jailing of hundreds of opposition activists is 'isolating' Belarus from the European Union, officials said in Berlin Wednesday.

The Ambassador, Andrei Giro, was summoned to the foreign ministry where officials told him Minsk must immediately release the detainees and open a dialogue with the political opposition.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who visited Minsk before the presidential election to appeal for a fair poll, phoned US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the crisis the same day.

Belarusian judges sentenced more than 600 people for taking part in massive anti-government protests after President Aleksander Lukashenko was declared Sunday to have won a fourth term in office in an election condemned by most international observers as fraudulent.

'The Belarusian leadership are moving their country into isolation through this behaviour. This undemocratic, backwards-oriented course harms the people of Belarus itself,' said Westerwalle in a statement.

'Anyone who manipulates elections and locks people up en mass when they want to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly is not a partner sharing values with the European Union.'


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