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February 4, 2023

ForMin Aurescu: I am outraged by policy of harassing and arresting of members of opposition in Belarus

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, declares himself “outraged” by the “policy of harassing and arresting of members of the opposition in Belarus” and calls for respect for fundamental human rights.

“I am outraged by the continued policy of harassing and arresting of members of the opposition in Belarus. There is a need to fully respect fundamental rights, to stop such kind of intimidating actions and to initiate political dialogue!,” the Romanian diplomat wrote on Twitter.

Romania will keep on calling on Belarus authorities to stop repression, start dialogue with opposition

Last Friday, Aurescu addressed an informal UN Security Council meeting held online on the human rights situation in Belarus, a meeting initiated by Estonia and backed by Romania alongside the UK, the US, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. Aurescu said Romania would continue to call on the Belarus authorities and their supporters to put an end to repression and intimidation, to engage in genuine dialogue with the opposition and civil society, to stop unfounded accusations against neighbouring states and to act responsibly to achieve social peace and prosperity based on democracy and respect for fundamental rights in a free, independent and sovereign Belarus. Bucharest is also in favour of EU sanctions against those responsible for repression and for rigging the elections and is looking for ways to support civil society and the free press in Belarus, the Romanian minister also said.

Speakers at the meeting included Belarus’ opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya; the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus Anais Marin; as well as representatives of the Viasna Human Rights Center and the Belarusian Association of Journalists.

“Defying all risks, the people of Belarus have taken to the streets to demand respect for their fundamental rights, freedom of expression, free and fair elections, freedom to express their own options for a better life in a – I want to emphasize this – democratic, sovereign and independent Belarus,” the Romanian chief diplomat pointed out, as cited in a release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In this context, Aurescu spoke about the Romanian 1989 Revolution.

“As a Romanian, I would like to mention the fact that, 30 years ago, I witnessed such a national awakening in the streets of Timisoara, Bucharest and many other cities in my country,” the ForMin confessed, according to Agerpres.

Referring to Belarus, he pointed out that “recourse to violence and repression, as well as ignoring calls for genuine dialogue, are simply unacceptable.”

“The whole world has expressed its admiration for the people of Belarus, represented by you, Mrs. Tikhanovskaya, and by the courageous journalists. You have asked the international community to support the principles and norms promoted by the UN and we are obliged to respond,” he said, noting that “together with the EU and its member states, Romania condemned the violation of human rights, did not recognize the result of the elections and demanded the release of all political detainees, along with the fast start of political dialogue.”

Aurescu also spoke about the sanctions proposed in this case. “We also support the EU’s imposing sanctions against those responsible for repression and the falsification of election results, and we are looking for ways to support the Belarusian civil society and the free media,” he said.

The ForMin rejected “accusations of interference with Belarus’ internal affairs.” “This is not a case of external interference; it is a case of violation of international commitments to respect fundamental human rights and democratic norms and principles. The Belarusian citizens deserve that their rights are respected and the international community must take effective action,” he pointed out.

In this context, the Minister reiterated the decision to allocate a voluntary contribution of 100,000 euros from the 2020 budget for development and humanitarian assistance managed by the Foreign Ministry and the Agency for International Development Cooperation (RoAid), to support civil society and independent journalism in Belarus through the European Endowment for Democracy. He also expressed support for OSCE efforts to facilitate a direct dialogue between the authorities and civil society.

In conclusion, Bogdan Aurescu pledged Romania’s support for fulfilling the aspirations of Belarusian citizens to live in freedom, in an independent, sovereign and democratic state.

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