The North Atlantic Council condemns and deplores the use of force by the Belarusian authorities against civilian demonstrators peacefully protesting against the violation of their right to a democratic election process, as well as the arbitrary detentions of Belarusian citizens and foreign nationals before and after the 19th March election for expressing their political views.
The OSCE/ODIHR-coordinated International Election Observation Mission testified that international electoral standards were not met. The Secretary General issued a statement on behalf of NATO condemning the way in which the election was conducted.
NATO expects its Partners to respect their commitments to democratic standards made within the OSCE framework and the values and principles of the Partnership for Peace.
All states who subscribed to the Partnership for Peace Framework Document of 1994 committed themselves to the preservation of democratic societies, their freedom from coercion and intimidation, and the maintenance of the principles of international law. Disregard for the rights of citizens to peaceful assembly and free expression and the misuse of the security forces by a Partner country are cause for grave concern.
As part of a broader diplomatic response, NATO has begun a careful review of its relationship with Belarus to determine how the Alliance can best add value to supporting and strengthening democratic practices and the rule of law in that nation. NATO will pursue a policy focused on encouraging reform. It will not deal with those that have been involved in the repression of the Belarusian people.
In pursuing this policy, NATO will enhance its efforts to contribute to the promotion of democracy, to foster defence reform, and to explain its principles and purposes to the Belarusian public.
NATO will work closely with its international partners to ensure that its policy and actions complement and strengthen the range of measures undertaken by the international community, with which all Allies align themselves.