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The Foreign Affairs Committee and the European Union Affairs Committee held an extraordinary sitting today to formulate Estonia’s positions on the European Union policies regarding Belarus.

The committees heard about Estonia’s positions from Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, who will also present these today at the extraordinary video meeting of the European Council.

The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Enn Eesmaa explained that Belarus is an Eastern Partnership country that Estonia has supported for over a decade now, both directly and through the European Union. “We will continue offering our support, which is particularly important now that Belarus is standing at a crucial crossroad,” Eesmaa said.

The Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Anneli Ott highlighted Estonia’s EUR 100,000 support package to the Belarus civil society. “This will send an important message to the citizens of Belarus, who are expressing their opinions and are putting their life and health on the line while fighting for democracy,” Ott said.

Estonia has decided not to recognise the results of the 9 August presidential elections in Belarus, because these were neither free nor fair. Estonia considers Alexander Lukashenko to have lost his mandate in connection with extensive falsification of election results.

Estonia supports the will of the Belarus people to see changes in their country, and stresses the need to hold new, free, and democratic elections. Estonia supports imposing targeted sanctions against persons responsible for the violence and the falsification of the elections. At the same time, the sanctions must not cause harm to the ordinary citizens of Belarus.

Estonia believes that the European Union must discuss the situation in Belarus and keep it in the spotlight in international organisations, including the UN Security Council, UN Human Rights Council, Council of Europe, and OSCE. The emphasis should be on preventing the possible escalation of violence and finding a peaceful political solution which would result in new elections.

Estonia supports civil society and free press in Belarus, and hopes for a larger support for this from the European Union. The government decided to support the civil society in Belarus with EUR 100,000.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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