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EU set to impose sanctions on Belarus for unfair elections

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EU set to impose sanctions on Belarus for unfair elections

Charles Michel - Photo EU Council

BRUSSELS) - Following a European Council video conference Wednesday, EU leaders made clear they did not recognise election results presented by the Belarus authorities, which did not meet international standards.

The members of the European Council met to discuss the situation which unfolded in the aftermath of the presidential elections in Belarus on 9 August. They also addressed developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Mali.

In a statement, the members of the Council said the elections in Belarus were "neither free nor fair", and EU did not recognise the results. Council President Charles Michel added: "Our message is very clear: stop the violence".

"The European Union stands in solidarity with the people of Belarus," he continued. "And we do not accept impunity. The protests in Belarus are not about geopolitics. This is about the right of the people to freely elect their leadership.

Leaders condemned the violence against peaceful protesters. The EU says it now expects a complete and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses. They affirmed that civil society and opposition actors must be protected from arbitrary arrests and violence.

The EU also announced it will shortly impose sanctions on a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression, and election fraud.

M Michel called on the Belarusian authorities to "find a way out of the crisis through an end to violence, de-escalation, and an inclusive national dialogue. Only a peaceful and democratic process, underpinned by independent and free media and a strong civil society, can provide sustainable solutions. All parties, including third states, should support such a process," he said.

The EU said it fully supports proposals within the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) for dialogue in Belarus, and is ready to provide assistance to further them.

Conclusions by the President of the European Council following the video conference of the members of the European Council on 19 August 2020

EU relations with Belarus (background information)

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