Updated at 11:56,07-12-2016

US describes Belarus' parliamentary elections as neither free nor fair

Belarus' September 18-23 elections for the House of Representatives fell short of international standards and their conduct cannot be considered free or fair, Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the US Department of State, said in a statement on September 24.

"The preliminary assessment of the OSCE election observation mission found that the elections were 'not competitive from the start.' The observer mission cited the limitation of choice for voters, the lack of impartiality on the part of the election commission, and the lack of proper counting procedures," the statement said.

The spokesperson said that Washington urged the Belarusian authorities to "take steps to meet Belarus’s international commitments to hold genuinely democratic elections and to foster respect for human rights."

"Enhanced respect for democracy and human rights in Belarus, including the release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners, remains central to improving bilateral relations with the United States," said the statement.