So said the chairman of the Subcommittee on European Affairs of the U.S. Congress Dan Burton. He said this during a public hearing on Belarus, which took place on Friday in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house of the U.S. parliament.
Gulak: The human rights situation in Belarus is stable but severe
The meeting was attended by members of parliament, a government official, the head of the Department of State Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Russell, public figures — the executive director of Freedom House David Kramer and one of the leaders of "Carnegie"Matthew Rozhansky.
All performances hearing participants were extremely harsh. Congressman Christopher Smith, one of the authors of the "Act on democracy in Belarus," said his meetings with friends and relatives of the presidential candidates thrown in jail. Smith stressed that the jail is his personal friend, an opposition leader Anatoly Lebedko.
Smith: "Alexander Lukashenko continues to turn a deaf ear to criticism of his government. At a press conference after the election Lukashenko said that Belarus will no longer be "senseless democracy", showing a disregard for the Belarusian people, by the people, life, many of which he is broke and public 16 years ago, he stole the country, turning it into a grotesque anomaly — the last dictatorship in Europe. "
Republican Dan Burton talked about the abuse Minsk regime of sanctions against Iran. The Obama administration imposed sanctions against the Belarusian company that collaborates with Tehran, but, according to the congressman, we can do more.
Barton: Belarusian regime — the last remnants of the "iron curtain", Lukashenko — a thug. I would like to see him gone. I think we would all like that. I would like to see it happen.
Gregory Meeks, Democratic Congressman from New York, said:
Mix: For me it is clear that the situation must change, and equally clear that the United States should contribute to this. And not only for humanitarian reasons, in light of what is going on in Belarus, but also for reasons of global security.
A State Department official Dan Russelll assured the MPs that the administration shares their concerns and put pressure on the authorities to secure the release of political prisoners, as well as support those who fight for democracy in Belarus.
He said that steps are being taken in conjunction with European partners.
He recalled that the U.S. government imposed sanctions on the major oil and petrochemical companies in the state of Belarus, has expanded the list of persons banned from entering the U.S., and also increased the number of persons in respect of whom personal financial penalties imposed.
Mr. Russell recalled his speech at the donors' conference in which he announced an increase of $ 4 million U.S. aid program to support democracy in Belarus.
He also said that the European Union is considering imposing economic sanctions against certain Belarusian enterprises.
According to Mr. Russell, Washington turned its attention to the fact that Russia joined the Council of Europe demands the release of political prisoners in Belarus. However, economic subsidies to Belarus from Russia are long-term. A State Department official said that the U.S. government will work with Russia, "I do not think anyone wants Lukashenko was playing on the contradictions between Russia and the West."
Dan Russell said that the United States will help to ensure that within the framework of the OSCE, an independent investigation distance elections in Belarus and what happened afterwards.