Updated at 20:54,07-12-2016

EU Delegation condemns television report on European Dialogue on Modernization with Belarus

The Delegation of the European Union to Belarus and the Minsk-based embassies of the EU countries have condemned a Belarusian television report that labels the EU`s European Dialogue on Modernization with Belarus a Western plot aimed at subjugating rather than modernizing Belarus.

Broadcast by television channel Belarus One on Sunday evening, the report alleges that the secret agenda behind the program is to deprive Belarus of state independence by financing dissident groups and creating a pro-Western wing within the Belarusian government to overthrow the constitutional order.

"The broadcast contains incorrect and false information concerning the purpose and content of the European Dialogue on Modernisation," the EU Delegation and the EU embassies say in a statement.

"The European Dialogue on Modernisation is an open, transparent, and inclusive process consisting of a series of discussions aimed at fostering a competitive economy, a pluralistic society and the rule of law in Belarus," the statement says. "It is also about possible EU support to the reform efforts of Belarus in this regard. The authorities, which themselves have stated their commitment to reform and modernisation, have been invited to participate and join the initiative since the beginning."

"The Delegation of the European Union to Belarus and the Embassies of the EU Member States support the experts engaged in this initiative and commend the valuable work already done," the statement says. "It is our hope that the authorities will engage in the discussions and events of the Dialogue thus making a valuable and constructive contribution to the normalisation of EU-Belarus relations, as well as facilitating a course of reform and modernisation for the benefit of all the citizens of Belarus."