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President Lukashenka has rejected all criticism from European and international bodies
15 April 2005 -- The European Union has issued a strongly-worded statement condemning what it calls the continuing "dictatorship" in Belarus.
EU foreign ministers discussed the situation in Belarus during a meeting in Luxembourg today. Luxembourg currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
The EU statement on Belarus said the EU would take "action to rapidly implement measures in the short and medium term to help open Belarus society."
It further said the EU could not accept that a country "on Europe's borders" -- as the statement put it -- was "languishing in dictatorship." No specific details were given on the measures the EU is planning.
Earlier today, Belarus's Foreign Ministry dismissed UN criticism about the country's poor human-rights record.
The UN Human Rights Commission passed a resolution yesterday calling on Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to respect the rights of trade unions, journalists, religious organizations, and human-rights activists. The commission also called for an investigation of all alleged cases of disappearance, execution, and torture in Belarus.