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Estonia calls for a release of all political prisoners in Belarus

24.04.2012

No 107-E

The European Union must continue to demand for the release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners in Belarus, the Foreign Minister of Estonia, Urmas Paet, said at the meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union in Luxembourg today.

Foreign Minister Paet noted that while the softening of Belarusian rhetoric concerning the European Union and the release of a few political prisoners is welcome, the overall human rights situation in the country has not improved. “Therefore, it is early to suspend sanctions; that requires the release of all political prisoners,” he explained.

According to Paet, the democratic forces in Belarus must receive continued support, as it is essential for the future of the country.

Foreign Minister Paet added that Estonia calls on other European Union member states to use the option to issue free visas. “This provides the citizens of Belarus with the opportunity to travel in the free world and fosters contacts between people,” Paet said. Estonia waived the fee of national visas for Belarusians in March 2011.

Estonia feels that the European Union ambassadors who recently left Minsk should return as soon as possible, as their absence further reduces the decreased interaction with Belarus and limits the activities of the European Union on the scene.

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