The OSCE office in Minsk has stopped working

March 31 in Minsk ceased operations office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The head office of the Ambassador Benedikt Haller leaves Belarus.

The OSCE Mission has worked in Belarus in 1998. The decision to close the office adopted Belarusian authorities at the end of 2010.

December 31 Representative of Belarus to the International Organizations in Vienna Alexander Sychev informed the members of the Permanent Council of the OSCE Minsk official decision not to renew the mandate of the office of the organization due to "lack of objective justification for maintaining the mission."

On his opinion, the reason for closing the office has become a negative assessment of the representatives of the OSCE results of the presidential elections in Belarus.

West condemned the decision of the official Minsk to close the OSCE office. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a joint statement in which they expressed their regret about it. In their view, a critical assessment of the presidential elections, the OSCE has demonstrated that the implementation of the mandate of the mission in Belarus is not completed.

February 15 OSCE Chairman — Lithuanian Foreign Minister Azubalis once again expressed his regret at the decision of the Belarusian government not to extend the mandate of the OSCE Office in Minsk. "Lithuania's Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2011, pledged to continue negotiations with Belarus and other OSCE participating States to continue the important work of the organization in this country"- Said Azubalis.

However, on 17 February, at a briefing in Minsk Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said the decision to close the OSCE office is final.

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