Czech diplomacy calls for end of EU-Belarus rapprochement

London, Dec 24 (CTK) - Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and his German, Polish and Swedish counterparts Friday called on the EU to terminate its rapprochement policy towards Belarus after the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko as the country's president and repressions against the opposition.

"Europe has not seen anything like this in years.... What we have seen brings back memories of the introduction of martial law in Poland in 1981," Schwarzenberg and the Polish, German and Swedish prime ministers, Radek Sikorski, Guido Westerwelle and Carl Bildt, respectively, wrote in their joint letter released in Friday's issue of International Herald Tribune.

"Continued positive engagement with Mr. Lukashenko at the moment seems to be a waste of time and money. He has made his choice - and it is a choice against everything the European Union stands for... We must now deepen our engagement with the democrats of Belarus and those inside the government who disapprove of the fateful turn their country has taken," the four ministers wrote.

The AFP French news agency reported that the EU countries' foreign ministers would debate relations with Belarus at their meeting at the end of January.

Lukashenko, who has been the Belarussian head of state for 16 years, was re-elected president again last Sunday, receiving almost 80 percent of the vote.

Belarussian opposition has criticised the elections. The United States and the EU have condemned the use of force against the opposition in Belarus after the presidential polls. Russia has called the elections Belarus's internal affair.


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