Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Opposition activists critical of EU over dialogue with Minsk

Syarhey Karalevich, BelaPAN

Opposition activists have accused European Union officials of the premature resumption of dialogue with Minsk, warning that such an "irresponsible" stance could lead to an even harsher crackdown on political opponents of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

A statement adopted at Thursday`s conference in Minsk expressed "concern and anger" that EU officials engaged with Belarusian authorities without waiting for all political prisoners to be released.
The conference was held by a number of opposition parties and groups for the purpose of highlighting the problem of political prisoners in Belarus.

The statement warned that the EU should provide investment or lending to Belarus only after all political prisoners were freed and exonerated and after the Belarusian government held a free and fair election in accordance with the OSCE standards.