Council of Europe Secretary General reacts to the arrest of Belarusian opposition leader

Strasbourg, 27.04.2006 – “In recent days the Belarusian authorities have repeatedly detained and interrogated Alexander Milinkevich. I hope that they will use this opportunity to listen carefully to what he has to say to them” said Terry Davis in reaction to the arrest of the Belarusian opposition politician.

“I have met Mr Milinkevich, and I was impressed by his commitment to his country and its peaceful transition to democracy. The fact that the regime in Minsk is arresting people participating at a rally commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, which caused so much suffering to the people of Belarus, is very sad and difficult to understand. President Lukashenko should take a long hard look in the mirror and finally start doing what presidents in democratic countries are expected to do – listen to their opponents. Just because you listen to people does not mean that you must agree with them, but it does show that you are a grown-up politician” concluded the Secretary General.

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