The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website that an invitation to observe the upcoming election had been sent to a number of international bodies, including the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The ministry said the Belarusian government is ready to help international observers fulfill their mission and that it hopes that, in return, "they will strictly comply with the Belarusian constitution and refrain from interfering in any form in the election process."
The international community has been criticizing the government of Alyaksandr Lukashenka for increasingly curbing democratic rights in the country.
On December 8, 2005, RFE/RL and the Policy Association for an Open Society (PASOS) jointly conducted a roundtable discussion on issues relating to Belarus's post-Soviet transition. To view video of the roundtable, click here.