Statement by Mr Bogdan KLICH, MEP on behalf of the ad hoc delegation to Belarus on 15 March 2006

Strasbourg, 15 March 2006.

by Mr Bodgan KLICH (EPP-ED, Poland),
Member of the European Parliament
on behalf of the ad hoc delegation to the presidential elections in Belarus
on 19 March 2006

The ad hoc delegation of the European Parliament has decided to fulfil its mandate by monitoring the elections from outside Belarus.

Earlier this week the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus decided to refuse entrance visas to all seven members of the delegation and informed them that any attempts to enter Belarus will be treated as provocation and will be stopped directly at the border.

"This decision of the authorities of Belarus not to recognize the official delegation of the European Parliament is just another example of ever growing self-isolation of Belarus from the outside world, - remarked Mr Klich. - The regime in Minsk is clearly desperate and does not even hide that it is afraid of international witnesses of its harsh measures taken against the opposition and its own people. Therefore, already today one can clearly see that these elections do not meet international standards."

Furthermore, the members of the ad hoc delegation deplore the recent wave of arrests and violations of political freedoms as well as rules and procedures of electoral campaign in Belarus.

"We consider the recent steps of the Belarusian authorities as an attempt to paralyze the activities of independent and democratic candidates, - stated Mr. Klich. - Our task is to mobilise the international public opinion to strongly react and condemn the regime in the event the force is used against civilians and peaceful democratic opposition."

The European Parliament's ad hoc delegation will monitor the elections from Brussels, while maintaining close contact with the opposition in Belarus, the OSCE/ODIHR elections observation mission and with the international media. Following the vote, the ad hoc delegation will issue a statement, assessing the outcome of the presidential elections in Belarus.