OSCE chairman concerned about growing self-isolation of Belarus


Vilnius, April 5 (Interfax-BNS) - Belarus is becoming an increasingly closed country, OSCE Chairman and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis said.

"As time passes, I see that Belarus is becoming more and more isolated. That affects both its government and people," Azubalis told a conference held in Vilnius on Tuesday.

Azubalis said he regrets that Belarus does not approve of OSCE activities in Belarus. "We are asking again and again for Belarus to change its mind. They are refusing. It's a pity that their administration does not approve of an OSCE presence in Minsk," he said.

Belarusian Foreign Ministry press secretary Andrei Savinykh told a briefing in late March commenting on the closure of the OSCE office in Minsk that Belarus is not planning to end its cooperation with the OSCE.

Members of the OSCE Permanent Committee were informed about Belarus's decision not to extend the mandate of the OSCE office in Minsk by Alexander Sychev, permanent representative of Belarus in international organizations, on December 31, 2010.

Azubalis said he will continue supporting the efforts to ensure the observance of human rights and provide assistance to NGOs working in Belarus during his tenure as OSCE chairman.

Azubalis said he will ensure proper monitoring of judicial processes through OSCE ODIGR monitors.

Opposition activists who took part in the rallies protesting the outcome of the presidential elections in Belarus on December 19, 2010 are currently facing trial in Belarus.


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