Clinton Meets With Belarus Rights Activists

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met with human rights activists from Belarus to discuss the recent Belarusian presidential election, which has been condemned by the U.S. and European nations, and the Belarusian regime's crackdown on activists and opposition political leaders.

A State Department statement said Clinton met January 6 in Washington with Belarusian and Belarusian-American human rights activists including 'We Remember' President Irina Krasovskaya and Belarus Free Theater co-founder Natalya Kolyada.

The statement said Clinton "condemned the conduct of Belarus' presidential election and the crackdown on political leaders and activists, civil society representatives and journalists."

It said she "stressed her concern for detainees and for their family members," and noted "the U.S. Embassy in Minsk's efforts to remain in close contact with them."

The statement noted that the U.S. and European Union have already issued two joint statements condemning the violence against opposition protesters after the December 19 election, and calling for the immediate release of those who remain in detention.

The statement said Clinton told the activists that Washington is watching the Belarusian government's actions "closely," and considering a fresh response to its behavior.

President Alyaksadr Lukashenka was declared the winner of the election with nearly 80 percent of the vote. The opposition said the vote was rigged, and international monitors criticized it as flawed.

compiled from agency reports


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