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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2006 > February
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 13, 2006


Under Secretary Burns Meets with Belarusian Civil Society Representatives

Local residents engage in debates, in Minsk, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006.  Belarus will hold presidential elections on March 19.  [© AP/WWP]Under Secretary for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns met on February 10 with two representatives of Belarusian civil society, Marina Rakhlei of the BelaPAN news service and Olga Stuzhinskaya of the Office for Democratic Belarus (Brussels), as well as Olga Tarasov of the International League for Human Rights. They discussed the state of democracy and human rights in Belarus in the run-up to the March 19 presidential election. Under Secretary Burns assured them of "our deep and continuing interest in Belarus, both ahead of and after the March 19 election." Burns sent best wishes to Svetalana Zavadskaya, who was unable to attend the meeting due to illness. Ms. Zavadskaya is president of the Dmitry Zavadsky Foundation, named after her husband, a journalist who disappeared in Belarus in 2000.

The United States remains deeply concerned about the Belarusian government’s conduct leading up to the election, harassment of civil society, and failure to investigate seriously the cases of the disappeared. As Under Secretary Burns said in Friday’s meeting "We want the people of Belarus to join the rest of the continent and help complete the transition to a Europe whole, free and at peace."

2006/178


Released on February 13, 2006

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