Belarus: Release of all political prisoners - condition sine qua non for unlocking EU-Belarus relations

10.07.2013 8:29

Belarus: Release of all political prisoners - condition sine qua non for unlocking EU-Belarus relations

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Views expressed here are the views of the national delegation and do not always reflect the views of the group as a whole
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Foreign Affairs committee has adopted on Tuesday its recommendation on EU policy towards Belarus reiterating the need for the unconditional release of all remaining political prisoners as a prerequisite for a gradual lifting of EU restrictive measures and for an upgradeof EU – Belarus relations.

- Release of all political prisoners is a condition sine qua non for unlocking EU-Belarus relations. The situation of human rights in Belarus remains in general very worrying therefore we as EPP group managed to streamline the principles of democracy, rule of law and human right throughout the whole report. We have also emphasized that civil society should participate on an equal footing with the authorities in the Dialogue for Modernization and people-to-people contacts should be facilitated also by simplification of visa procedures and in a longer term - with a possibility to have visa-free travel for Belarus people" - said after the vote Jacek Protasiewicz, who shadows the report on behalf of the EPP group.

- As long as political prisoners are not realised, moratorium on the use of the death penalty is not established and free and fair elections do not take place, we cannot discuss any improvement in terms of human rights in Belarus.- added Filip Kaczmarek, chairman of  the European Parliament’s delegation for the relations with Belarus.

Both stressed that any resumption of the dialogue between the EU and Minsk should be strictly conditioned and depend on progress in the fields of human rights, civil freedoms and democracy. The same conditionality should apply also to the recent decision of EU foreign affairs ministers on suspending the EU visa ban on the chief of Belarusian diplomacy Vladimir Makey.

- By granting to Mr Makey a right to travel on its territory, the EU confirmed its offer of assistance and advice to Belarus. I really hope  that Belarusian authorities will seize this unique opportunity, which is  Lithuanian presidency of the EU,  and the Eastern partnership summit in Vilnius in November  to start a concrete and solid dialogue  with the EU on democratic reforms, respect of the rule of law, human rights and basic freedoms  - concluded  Jacek Protasiewicz

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The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 275 Members from 27 Member States.

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