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Belarus: Council Of Europe Opposes Sending Election Observers

Minsk, 4 August 2000 (RFE/RL) - A delegation from the Council of Europe says it will advise against sending observers to monitor upcoming parliamentary elections in Belarus, saying the vote is unlikely to be fair. Parliamentary groups from several European organizations have already warned officials in Minsk that they must make the voting process more transparent before observer teams will be sent to monitor the elections. The vote is scheduled for October 15. The visiting head of the delegation from the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly, Terry Davis, said today that the group was very disappointed by the apparent lack of progress in creating adequate conditions in Belarus and, as such, would recommend that observers not be sent.

The parliamentary assembly has until the end of August to make a final decision on the matter. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, meanwhile, has said he will go forward with the election, with or without western observers.