PACE President voices conditions for resuming contacts with Minsk

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President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Anne Brasseur, spoke about the situation in Belarus on April 22 in Strasbourg. She recapped the conditions for resuming contacts with the official Minsk: a moratorium on the death penalty, release of political prisoners and free elections. Until the implementation of these three conditions, renewal of high-level contacts between PACE and the official Minsk, as well as the return to our country of the special guest status will remain out of the question.

"I recognize the importance of holding in Belarus negotiations to resolve the conflict in Ukraine - they were designed to find ways to settle the situation in eastern Ukraine. Although the Minsk Agreement is rather fragile and ceasefire still unstable, the fact that Belarus has given the parties a platform for negotiations is a positive step. Nevertheless, we cannot forget those obstacles that do not allow Belarus to join the Council of Europe: the question of the death penalty, free elections and the release of political prisoners. We simply cannot say: Here, you have done a lot for the negotiations on Ukraine and we cast aside those important issues that we raised. But if there is a progress on these matters, it is quite possible that the decision to avoid high-level contacts will be canceled," said Anne Brasseur in response to the question from Euroradio.

According to her, the first evidence of such progress could be future presidential elections. If from the beginning they are be held in conditions of equal opportunity for all candidates and freedom, it will signal to the PACE that Belarus really wants to develop a dialogue, said PACE President.

The decision to terminate the high-level contacts between PACE and Belarus was adopted in April 2010.