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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release July 27, 2000

STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY

July 27 marks the tenth anniversary of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Belarus by the Belarusian Supreme Council. This historic act was an important step toward the establishment of an independent and democratic Belarusian state and a clear expression of the will of the Belarusian people.

Ten years later, however, much remains to be done to realize the dream of a democratic and independent Belarus in which the rights of all citizens are respected, and which is part of the international and Euroatlantic community. The United States firmly supports the people of Belarus in their desire to achieve these goals and calls on the Belarusian authorities to take all necessary steps to hold free and fair elections, beginning with parliamentary elections this fall.

In this regard, the United States also calls on the Belarusian authorities to fulfill promptly the four conditions set out by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as a basis for sending international observers to the parliamentary elections. These conditions include: respect for human rights and an end to the climate of fear; access to the state media for the democratic opposition; creation of a democratic electoral code; and granting real power to the parliament to be elected. A thorough investigation and accounting of those who have disappeared is also critical.

We know that the spirit of the Declaration of State Sovereignty is alive among the people of Belarus. On this anniversary, they should know that they have the support of the people and the Government of the United States.

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