EU ministers slam 'loser Lukashenko'

Radek Sikorksi and three other EU foreign ministers have written in the New York Times that the result of the presidential elections in Belarus "has no democratic legitimacy whatsoever" and the police crackdown that followed resembles "martial law in Poland".

Under the headline, Lukashenko the loser, Carl Bildt, Karel Schwarzenberg, Radek Sikorski and Guido Westerwelle, foreign ministers of Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland and Germany respectively, write that it appeared in the run up to the election last Sunday week that President Lukashenko had improved his attitude to human rights, when he allowed opposition candidates access to media and let in foreign election observers.

But then the counting of votes started, behind closed doors.

"It became obvious that there were orders not to count votes, but to deliver a predetermined result," says the article by the four foreign ministers.

"There is no way to know what the real result of the election is, but what is abundantly clear is that the announced result has no democratic legitimacy whatsoever," the article adds.

The following hours and days after polling station closed has seen a brutal crackdown by police and Belarusian KGB, with hundreds of activists arrested, many beaten and imprisoned.

"Europe has not seen anything like this in years. The combination of vote- rigging and outright repression makes what Milosevic tried to do in Serbia in 2000 pale in comparison. What we have seen brings back memories of the introduction of martial law in Poland in 1981.

"But there are many in Belarus who know that his clock is ticking - and are discreetly preparing for a better future," the article ends.


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