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Lavrov: OSCE should have sent its observers to Belarusian polls

SOLNECHNOGORSK (T-ASS): The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should have accepted Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s invitation to send observers to the presidential elections in Belarus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Sunday.

According to Lavrov, the OSCE refused to send observers to Belarus saying the invitation had been received in violation of time limits.

“With no observers the West brands as independent present, it would be very difficult to persuade anyone that the results of the presidential polls were exactly converse to those that were announced,” he said at a nationwide youth forum Territory of Senses. “It is impossible to prove that President Lukashenko lost these elections without accepting his invitation. This possibility was ignored. I think they should not have done that. It was a big mistake.”

He noted that observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the CIS Parliamentary Assembly and some of the CIS nations had reported “no serious violations capable of impacting the elections outcome.”

“The Belarusian people will decide itself how to resolve this situation,” Lavrov stressed.

“I believe that the clear signs of the situation getting normal are quite important. I also know that not everyone likes this and there are those who wish to make this normal, peaceful trend of the developments in Belarus violent after all, provoke bloodshed and turn them into the Ukrainian scenario,” he said.

Belarusians can cope with the situation in the country on their own, it is important to prevent provocations, said Lavrov.

“Our approach is very simple: this is an internal affair of Belarus. Belarusians can quite cope with the situation on their own, being a wise people. The main thing is to make sure that unrest is not provoked from the outside,” Russia’s top diplomat said.

Russia will not object to any decision by the Belarusian leadership on dialogue with its people, said Lavrov.

“We will not be against any decision, which the Belarusian leadership will make on dialogue with its population,” Lavrov said.

“But when the West says that only mediation with the participation of Western countries will be effective, everyone, of course, has fresh memories about how it all developed in Ukraine when the Western mediation made our corresponding partners fully unable to comply with their commitments,” the Russian foreign minister said.

The situation in Belarus was a major theme at the negotiations of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. At their meeting in France that lasted many hours, Macron urged to avoid the escalation of tension in Belarus and exclude the use of force. Macron said the European Union was interested in the democratic and all-embracing transitional period in the republic and fair elections. The French president also stated his readiness to act as a mediator jointly with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Russia considers dialogue in Belarus on the Constitutional reform as quite promising, Russia’s Foreign Minister said. “We proceed from the fact that no recipes should be imposed. President [of Belarus Alexander] Lukashenko has spoken for dialogue on many occasions lately during his meetings with workers, including the most important proposal and dialogue on the Constitutional reform. It seems to me that this is the way, which is quite promising,” Russia’s top diplomat said. Belarusian President Lukashenko earlier stated his readiness to give away some presidential powers but only within the framework of the Constitutional reform. New elections in Belarus can be held only after the country’s new Constitution is adopted, he said.

These is no evidence to the use of force during protests in Belarus after the “outburst of violence” during the first days of protests, Russian Foreign Minister said. “After an outburst of violence in the first couple of days, now there is no evidence that force is used during these protests. But some Belarusian oppositionists who are living in the West and are trying to influence the developments from there seem to be wanting the situation to be the other way round, with bloodshed to provoke Belarusian law enforcers who are now not interfering into peaceful demonstrations,” he said.

The situation is calming down now and some seem “not to be happy with that,” he noted.

“Both opposition activists, who have formed a kind of coordinating council, and some Western nations, first of all the United States, are seeking to picture this coordinating council as a legitimate negotiating partner of the Belarusian government. They are unhappy that the protests is, if not to say, calming down, but, at least, is not becoming more large-scale and loud. And they are unhappy that these protests are peaceful,” Lavrov explained. He stressed that the Belarusian people is capable to cope with the situation by itself. “What matters most is to prevent external provocation to riots,” he added.

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