Today Secretary Clinton met with Belarusian and Belarusian-American human rights activists including “We Remember” President Irina Krasovskaya and Belarus Free Theater co-founder Natalya Kolyada to discuss recent events in Belarus. The Secretary condemned the conduct of Belarus’s presidential election and crackdown on political leaders and activists, civil society representatives and journalists. She stressed her concern for detainees and for their family members, noting the U.S. Embassy in Minsk’s efforts to remain in close contact with them.
The United States and the European Union have issued two joint statements condemning the violence and calling for the immediate release of all who are detained. The Secretary repeated this appeal and also urged an end to repressive acts against the opposition, the media and civil society. The Secretary told the activists that we are watching the government’s actions closely and considering our response to those actions. The United States will continue its support for and engagement with the people of Belarus.
The United States closely followed the first round of parliamentary elections held yesterday in Egypt. Egypt’s elections, this year and next, represent an important opportunity for progress. Egyptians will only have full confidence in their elections when the government is able to address existing flaws, and ensure full and transparent access by independent civil society monitors and candidate representatives to all phases of the electoral process.
Reports from domestic civil society monitors, candidate representatives, and government officials on the conduct of yesterday’s elections give us cause for concern. We are disappointed by reports in the pre-election period of disruption of campaign activities of opposition candidates and arrests of their supporters, as well as denial of access to the media for some opposition voices. We are also dismayed by reports of election-day interference and intimidation by security forces. These irregularities call into question the fairness and transparency of the process. We continue to believe that allowing international observers to monitor and freely report on elections, a normal practice in the region and around the world, is very important in building public confidence in a fair and open election.
The United States has a longstanding partnership with the government and the people of Egypt, rooted in common interests and shared aspirations for the future. We look forward to continuing to work with the Egyptian government and with Egypt’s vibrant civil society to help them achieve their political, social, and economic aspirations.