Updated at 20:54,07-12-2016

Matteo Mecacci is the right man to head OSCE PA observation mission for parliamentary elections

Matteo Mecacci, chairperson of the OSCE Parliamentary Assemblys Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, is the right man to head the Assemblys observation mission for Belarus parliamentary elections, Neil Simon, the Assemblys communications director, told BelaPAN on Wednesday.

While meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier in the day, Alyaksandr Lukashenka expressed his dissatisfaction with the OSCE PAs choice for head of its observation mission.

"I think they could have found a person who would have better knowledge of Belarus and the situation in the Republic of Belarus," Mr. Lukashenka said.

Mr. Mecaccis candidacy was proposed by the president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Riccardo Migliori, Mr. Simon noted, adding that Mr. Mecacci had followed political developments in Belarus for some time and would be able to convey the Assemblys stance on the parliamentary elections in Belarus.

Mr. Mecacci have repeatedly criticized Belarus for its human rights record and called on the Belarusian authorities to stop harassing political opponents and release all prisoners of conscience.

Following his appointment in July to head the OSCE PA observation mission, Mr. Mecacci said: "We come into this election observation with an open mind and outstretched hand to our friends in Belarus. It is our hope that we witness marked improvement from the last election and that all people, including some now under house arrest or in prison, will be allowed to participate in the parliamentary election without intimidation or restrictions."