Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Opposition politicians meet with EU officials

By Syarhey Karalevich, BelaPAN

Five opposition politicians met with a delegation of European Union officials in Minsk on Monday to discuss the situation in Belarus ahead of September's elections for the House of Representatives.

The delegation was led by Thomas Mayr-Harting, managing director for Europe and Central Asia in the European External Action Service.

The meeting was attended by United Civic Party (UCP) leader Anatol Lyabedzka; Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, leader of the Movement for Statehood and Independence; Pavel Sevyarynets and Vital Rymashewski, both co-chairmen of Belarusian Christian Democracy; and Tatsyana Karatkevich, a leader of the "Tell the Truth!" movement.

When reached by BelaPAN, Mr. Lyabedzka said that the politicians had agreed not to disclose the details of the "message" made by the EU officials.

According to the politician, he handed the delegation a statement signed by representatives of 10 pro-democratic organizations that suggests what should be changed in Belarus for the coming elections to "be at least remotely similar to fair elections." "I also said that even if a few opposition politicians were 'appointed' to the House of Representatives that would not mean free and fair elections to us," he said.

Mr. Lyabedzka also informed the EU officials about fines imposed on UCP activists for distributing leaflets, in what he described as a "dangerous court precedent."

The EU officials' remarks indicated that they "have been monitoring the situation in our country," said Mr. Lyabedzka.