Situation in Belarus - one of the main issues for Lithuanian Chairmanship of OSCE

Petras Vaida, BC, Vilnius,

President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite and Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Azubalis, the new OSCE Chairperson-in-Office as from 1 January, discussed priorities and main concerns for the Lithuanian Chairmanship of this Organization, reported BC presidential press service.

The President underlined that the OSCE chaired by Lithuania would seek progress in resolving frozen conflicts, strengthen cooperation in combating modern threats, including energy isolation and cyber threats, and seek to enforce respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms by ensuring the freedom of press and democratic elections.

"It is our common goal to have a strong OSCE that works efficiently and constructively. Lithuania will be working actively towards making this Organization even stronger and ensuring that its decision-making is efficient and cooperation both within the Organization and with external partners is constructive and based on shared values," President Dalia Grybauskaite said.

The President and the Foreign Affairs Minister also discussed the situation in Belarus. The President agrees with OSCE's preliminary conclusions stating that Belarus still has a long way to go in order to meet its commitments to OSCE's democratic development standards.

The President underlined that the outbreak of violence after the election had cast a shadow over the entire election process. The President deplores the disproportional use of force by the Belarusian regime against the protesters but also disapproves of violence by the protesters and potential provocations. The President holds the view that proper medical aid and care must be guaranteed to all those who have been injured, including one of the opposition leaders, Vladimir Neklyayev.

"Isolation of Belarus has not produced the desired results. Actions taken by the Belarusian government against ordinary people and journalists who took part in the protest, as well as arrests and the use of physical force hamper cooperation with the official Belarus but not with the Belarusian people. I will approach the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, with the request to simplify the procedure for issuing EU visas to citizens of Belarus and to reduce visa prices," President Dalia Grybauskaite said.

According to the President, if Belarusian leadership believe that the election results are reliable and the election has been won in a landslide, they do not have to fear the opposition and could therefore demonstrate self-confidence by releasing all detainees.


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