Washington, 27 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - The United States says it cannot have normal relations with the government of Belarus or provide economic assistance to the country if President Alyaksandr Lukashenko proceeds on his stated anti-democratic course.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said yesterday that the United States would be unable to help Belarus economically or politically.
He said "the United States is not going to be able to have a normal, positive relationship with a government that is fundamentally anti-democratic."
Burns noted that most of Belarus' neighbors have condemned the constitutional referendum and that Lukashenka is leading his country into isolation in Central Europe.
"He has got to be concerned as he looks to the future," Burns said. He said the United States was troubled by the anti-constitutional basis of the referendum and the way it was held.
He said the names of early voters were not recorded, no independent media had access to the referendum voting and there was no international monitoring presence.
Burns called the referendum "a sham" carried out in "a shoddy manner," with no way to prove the veracity of the final results.