Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State on January 4 expressed their regret over the decision by the Government of Belarus to terminate the mission of the OSCE's Office in Minsk. In their view, the mandate of the mission is not completed, as indicated by the OSCE's critical assessment of the presidential elections.
As Telegraf correspondent was informed in the representation of the EU in Belarus, Catherine Ashton and Hillary Clinton stressed that the elections and their aftermath — particularly the continuing detention of presidential candidates and new detentions and raids targeting the media — represented a step backwards in the development of democratic governance in Belarus.
U.S. and EU representatives called on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release all the detainees and to fulfill their commitments to the OSCE by reforming the election process and providing greater respect for human rights.
Politicians said that the OSCE had carried out valuable work in the country, in particular in promoting institution building and the rule of law and supporting the development of civil society. «The EU and U.S. remain willing to assist Belarus in meeting its OSCE commitments in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms,» the EU representation in Belarus reported.