Right of Reply to Belarus on the “All-Belarusian People’s Assembly”

Right of Reply to Belarus on the “All-Belarusian People’s Assembly”

As delivered by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Elisabeth Rosenstock-Siller
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
February 11, 2021

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I also thank our Belarusian colleague for raising this issue.  The Lukashenka regime opened its “All-Belarusian People’s Assembly” today, and claims that it includes representatives from across Belarus for the purpose of determining the country’s priorities for the next five years and may consider possible amendments to the country’s constitution.  This “All-Belarusian People’s Assembly” is neither genuine nor inclusive of Belarusian views. It does not address the country’s political crisis which has continued for more than six months following the fraudulent August election.  The authorities have jailed Belarusian protest leaders, activists, and dissidents and journalists – often on falsified charges – and forcibly exiled others.  The political prisoners, those in exile, and the estimated 30,000 others arrested since August 2020 have the right to determine their country’s future through a genuine, inclusive dialogue – as well as through free and fair elections.

The OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism Report provides a clear, specific road map to inclusiveness, and the United States urges the Belarusian authorities to accept the OSCE Chairpersonship’s offer to facilitate a genuine, inclusive national dialogue.  We call on the Belarusian authorities to accept and implement the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism recommendations. By doing so Belarus can start on a path to political reconciliation, stability, and democratic progress.

Thank you,  Madam Chair.