Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the release of professor Bandazhevsky

The European Union welcomes the release of Professor Yuri Bandazhevsky on parole and hopes that the Belarusian authorities will now allow Professor Bandazhevsky to return to his work on the impact of the Chernobyl disaster. The EU has frequently expressed its concern at the Professor's imprisonment and recalls its repeated requests for the release of Professor Bandazhevsky and other political prisoners.

The EU understands that Professor Bandazhevsky is in good spirits and good health and that he is eager to continue his research. The EU hopes that Professor Bandazhevsky will be free to lend his expertise to the Conference scheduled for April 2006 to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia *, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential
candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and
Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.