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Alyaksandr Milinkevich signals to supporters from his prison window on April 27 (Bymedia.net) May 4, 2006 -- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney today said there was "no place in Europe" for an autocratic regime such as that of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.


"The world knows what is happening in Belarus," Cheney said. "Peaceful demonstrators have been beaten, dissidents have vanished, and a climate of fear prevails under a government that subverts free elections and bans your own country's flag. There is no place in Europe, whole and free, for a regime of this kind."


Addressing a meeting of Baltic and Black Sea leaders in Vilnius, Cheney said the people of Belarus was suffering under the "last dictatorship in Europe."


He also called for the immediate release of opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich and other opposition members imprisoned in Belarus for protests against Lukashenka's regime.

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)

Related stories:

Belarus: EU-Funded Broadcasts Set To Begin

Belarus: Oppositionist Seeks EU Support For 'Revolution Of Hope'

Belarus: EU Foreign Ministers Meet With Opposition Leader

Belarus: EU Bolsters Support For Opposition Ahead Of Vote


Click on the image to view a dedicated page with news, analysis, and background information about the Belarusian presidential ballot.

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Read brief biographies of the four candidates in the March 19 election.


Click on the image to view RFE/RL's coverage of the election campaign in Belarusian and to listen to RFE/RL's Belarusian Service.

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