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"The European Parliament always stands on the side of the Belarusian people

Strasbourg -
Thursday, January 20, 2011

The European Parliament adopted today by a large majority the motion of resolution on Belarus.

EP President Jerzy Buzek welcomed the adoption of the resolution and said:

"The European Parliament always stands on the side of the Belarusian people. They have a well-deserved European future and we will always support them. The European Parliament today decided to send a fact-finding mission to Minsk in the nearest future.

This is the time of action. The European Union must develop a long-term strategy towards Belarus, to move away from declarations and concentrate on concrete actions and effective measures.

We urge the Belarusian authorities for an immediate and unconditional release of all those detained during the election and in its aftermath, including the prisoners of conscience. The Belarusian authorities must provide unhindered access of the detainees to relatives, legal assistance and medical care.

Until we do not see these people out of prison we want to re-apply the visa ban on the Belarusian leading authorities and to consider suspending Belarus participation in Eastern Partnership activities.

As we punish the regime for the rigging of elections and the violent crackdown that followed, we double our efforts to support the civil society. We cannot remain silent while these people are suffering. I call on the political forces to let Belarusian people advance on their way to progress. Give them back the chance to stand proud of their freedom!

We are here to support and express our solidarity with the Belarusian people. We call for amplifying financial support to Belarusian civil society, independent media and NGOs in the efforts to advance democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. We call on the European Commission to develop a mechanism of registration of the NGOs that are denied registration in Belarus for political reasons, in order to enable them to benefit from the EU programmes. Moreover, Belarus should allow the OSCE office in Minsk to continue its activities.

The Belarusian people are welcome in the EU.  Increasing financial aid and scholarships for the Belarusian students, continuing the support to the European Humanities University in exile in Vilnius, and while lowering visa fees for the Belarusian citizens, abolishing them for certain groups of people such as students, scientists and artists are top priorities mentioned in the resolution.

This is one more important act taken by the Parliament in defending Belarusian basic rights. By adopting this resolution, today, the European Parliament showed clear consistency, continuity and coordination of all our recent actions on Belarus. We look forward to the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on 31 January, where the EU will take decision regarding the targeted sanctions and support for the society."

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For further information:
Robert A. Golański
Deputy Spokesman
Mobile: +32 475 751 663

Delia Vlase
Press Officer
Mobile: +32 476 331 038