Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich (right) with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on April 7 (Bymedia.net)
April 7, 2006 -- Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin today.
Milinkevich expressed gratitude for Germany's public show of support for the opposition in its efforts to unseat President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in last month's election.
Western governments have widely condemned the March 19 vote as fraudulent. Milinkevich was the main opposition candidate to run against Lukashenka.
Milinkevich earlier today told a group of German lawmakers that the election which gave Lukashenka an unprecedented third term in office amounted to a "coup."
Milinkevich today wraps up a five-day tour of Europe aimed to bolster support for the opposition.
(AP, Charter 97)
The EU Watches Minsk
Belarusian students studying at an EU-funded university in Vilnius, Lithuania
WATCHING AND WAITING: The European Union repeatedly urged Minsk to conduct a fair and democratic presidential election on March 19. The EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in a statement today that the recent arrests of Belarusian opposition figures are "unacceptable" campaign violations. Ferrero-Waldner repeated an EU threat of "targeted sanctions" against top Belarusian officials if the elections are not free and fair. However, the EU will withhold final judgment until March 20, when the bloc's foreign ministers meet in Brussels....(more)