Bulgaria Urges Belarus to Free Political Prisoners as Russia Makes Opposition Arrests

Diplomacy | December 6, 2011, Tuesday // 20:12|  views

Burhan Ghaliou (L), the leader of the exiled opposition Syrian National Council, is accompanied by Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov (R), after speaking during a press conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, 02 December 2011. EPA/BGNES

Belarus must release political prisoners arrested after December 2010 general elections, urged Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolay Mladenov Tuesday.

"I call once again on President Alexander Lukashenko to release those arrested after the elections in December last year ” Minister Mladenov said in a speech at an OSCE meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Meanwhile, Tuesday evening police in neighboring Russia have detained at least 250 persons, including opposition leaders, at a rally against what protesters believe to be rigged general elections last Sunday.

Parliamentary elections in Russia were once again won by PM Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party, which secured an absolute majority in the Russian Parliament's lower chamber, the Duma.

"I urge Lukashenko to initiate an open dialogue with the opposition and civil society to begin the transition to democracy and pluralism in his country," said the Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minister Tuesday.

"Belarus is a proud and independent country and its people deserve a European future," added Mladenov, who in the past has taken a pro-democracy stance regarding events in Belarus.

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Tags: Duma, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Nikolay Mladenov, Alexander Lukashenko, Vladimir Putin, elections, protesters, arrest, political prisoners, United Russia, Mladenov, Lukashenko


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