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Belarus: European Parliament Criticizes Authoritarian Policies

Strasbourg, France; 11 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The European Parliament today criticized the authoritarian government of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and called on the European Union to increase its support for Belarusian opposition groups. In a unanimous resolution, the European Parliament condemned what it called Lukashenka's "indiscriminate attacks" against opposition politicians, activists, and journalists, many of whom have faced arrest and harassment. It called on the Belarusian government to reconsider what it called "self-isolation" and its "authoritarian and antidemocratic course."

The resolution also urged EU member countries to increase their assistance to opposition forces in Belarus, including unions, universities, and political groups. The statement also called on those opposition groups to join forces ahead of parliamentary elections in March in order to raise public support for change.