EU, U.S. Welcome Release Of Belarusian Dissidents

(RTTNews) - The European Union and the United States on Thursday welcomed the release of three Belarusian dissidents, who were regarded as political prisoners by the West.

Small business activist Sergei Parsyukevich and young opposition activist Andrei Kim were released on Wednesday, while another prominent dissident, Alexander Kozulin, was released last week.

All the three were reportedly released on the orders of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who is seen as an authoritarian by the West. The latest Belarusian move is widely seen as an effort to improve ties with the West.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Union's commissioner for external relations and European neighborhood policy, welcomed the release of the three 'political prisoners' and said that she was "delighted" by the news.

"This news comes at a critical time as Belarus prepares for parliamentary elections next month. I very much hope the positive momentum will continue and allow the European Union and Belarus to rapidly develop closer relations," she said.

Meanwhile, U.S. state department spokesman Robert Wood also welcomed the Belarusian move and said that the release of the three "individuals, combined with what we hope will be further positive steps, offers the real possibility of a significant improvement in relations" between the US and Belarus.



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