Pompeo calls on Minsk for a free and fair presidential election

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Belarus to hold free and fair presidential elections. The statement was contained in his congratulation speech timed to Independence Day said.

Independence Day is annually celebrated in Belarus on July 3 – in honor of the liberation of Minsk from Nazi invaders in 1944. Pompeo’s congratulation on this occasion is posted on the website of the American diplomatic mission in Minsk.

“On behalf of the government of the United States and the American people, I send my congratulations to all Belarusian citizens on the occasion of your Independence Day. The United States strongly supports the continued aspirations of the Belarusian people for democratic principles including universal freedoms, civil liberties, and the rule of law. We urge the government of Belarus to do everything in its power to ensure the upcoming elections are free and fair”, – the statement says.

According to the Secretary of State, this includes “the right to participate in the election campaign of a wide range of candidates, the right of citizens to gather peacefully and freely express their opinion, as well as an open and fair vote count. Pompeo believes that all these fundamental freedoms are necessary to ensure the further independence and sovereignty of the republic.

“The United States is encouraged by the growing relationship between our two nations and is committed to assisting Belarus to develop and diversify its economy.  The United States reiterates its commitment to working with all Belarusians as you build a bright, secure, and democratic future”, – Pompeo added.

A presidential election campaign is underway in Belarus; elections are scheduled for August 9. The campaign is accompanied by detentions at pickets and protests of supporters of presidential contenders, alternative to the current Belarusian leader, Alexander Lukashenko. As previously reported by the republic’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, the detention was mainly related to the violation of the law on mass events and the organization of actions that grossly violate public order, but human rights organizations see this as a political motive. Most detainees receive fines and administrative arrests.

Moreover, more than two dozen people, including politicians, bloggers and opposition activists, are under investigation in criminal cases, they are recognized as political prisoners by human rights activists.