Senator Lieberman: This resolution puts us on the side of the people of Belarus

March 10 in the U.S. Senate gave Senator Joseph Lieberman (Independent, Connecticut), introducing the draft resolution on Belarus. We offer you the translation of fragments of his speech.

Sen. Joe Lieberman: "We are with you. Do not lose hope!" Exclusive interview for Radio Liberty (3 February 2011)

I want to speak in support of dvyuhpartyynay resolution, which was introduced to our colleagues, Senator poles and one of the sponsors of which I have the honor to be. The resolution to the situation in Belarus.

At a time when the wind of democratic change blowing across North Africa and the Middle East, vymyatayuchy autocratic rulers who have entrenched themselves there with the old time, it is important to remember that there is still a dictatorship in Europe, in a country called Belarus.

In the 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus' neighbors to the north and west have become successful and wealthy democracies. But sadly what if Poland, Lithuania and Latvia to break the chains of tyranny and joined the Euro-Atlantic world flyagmanskih institutions — NATO and the European Union — Belarus and its people are left behind, were detained behind their despotic ruler Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the country with the help of repression and election fraud nearly two decades.

Some in the United States and Europe in recent years, hoping that Lukashenko could make Belarus more open and change their behavior. These hopes, however, abruptly ended December 19 last year, when the presidential election in Belarus. (…)

More than 600 the man wasand detained by the security forces of Belarus on election day, and soon after. Among them were journalists, civil society representatives, politicians and several opposition candidates for the presidency. It's hard to believe that in today's world, there are still such behavior. Detainees are still not allowed to have contact with their families and lawyers and to health care and open proceedings, and their families and advocates brook harassment from the security forces Lukashenko.

This resolution seeks to several important things.

First, it will send a strong and clear message to Lukashenko himself that his actions — are unacceptable, and that they will cost him a lot. She will tell him that we do not consider legitimate elections on December 19 and that for this reason it is not a legitimately elected head of Belarus. And there should be new elections free, fair and in accordance with international standards. (…)

Perhaps even more important is that this resolution will send a signal to people in Belarus who are fighting for their basic freedoms. She says dissidents in this country that we have not forgotten and will not forget any of them, nor of their business, that we remember their names, and we will stand in solidarity with them, until they reach their goal — a free and democratic Belarus.

Last month, Senator McCain, I and others have visited Vilnius in Lithuania, where we met with Belarusian students and opposition leaders. It was extremely bright experience for all of us, directly from them when we heard about the persecution in their own country. The essence of the resolution which was introduced and Senator poles supporting some of us, reflects the fact that we were told Belarusians, with whom we met in Vilnius, yes Belarusian dissidents with whom we met here in Washington.

Specifically, the resolution calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Belarus and to tighten sanctions against Lukashenko. We also call on President Obama to provide the greatest possible technical and material support to Belarusian civil society, including the political opposition. (…)

I know that some may say that the resolution is only symbolic that we do can not be done to help people who live in such repression and lack of freedom in Belarus. And we just have to accept the reality of Lukashenka's dictatorship after all these years.

But if we can draw conclusions from historical events in Tunisia and Egypt, they are just in the fact that the United States will do better if we are in our foreign policy support our values and the people who share them. And yet, these events show that even the most unshakable regimes can fall apart with extraordinary speed. Of course, I can not say exactly when Belarus will be free, but I have no doubt that one day she will be free. I am convinced that the future belongs not to Belarus Lukashenko and his cronies, and the people of this beautiful country, dissidents who are now in prison, the students we met in Vilnius last month, civil society activists who are suffering persecution by the KGB. (…)

This resolution puts us, the United States Senate on the side of the people against the regime of Belarus and Lukashenko, who this crowd pressing. I hope that we can reach agreement quickly adopt this dvyuhpartyynuyu ruling.

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