EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said ithey regret the decision by the Belarusian Government to terminate the mission of the OSCE's Office in Minsk. The elections and their aftermath are a step backwards in the development of democratic governance in Belarus, they said in a joint statement released on 4 January.
Ashton and Clinton deplored the continued detentions of opposition activists and the raids against the media, and called for the immediate release of all detained.
They also urged the Belarusian authorities to fulfil their commitments to the OSCE by reforming the election process and providing greater respect for human rights. "The OSCE has 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 US remain willing to assist Belarus in meeting its OSCE commitments in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms," the statement said.