Opening a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe yesterday, PACE president Leni Fischer stated that the parliament created by Belarusan president Aleksandr Lukashenko is not eligible to send delegates because it was not legitimately elected. Several days earlier, the European Parliament (the legislative arm of the European Union), also in Strasbourg, adopted a resolution accusing Lukashenko of dictatorial practices and calling on the Belarusan and Russian governments to postpone the planned union until it has been approved by recognized democratic institutions in both countries. The Europarliament warned that it would reject recognition of a Union not accepted by the legitimate Belarusan parliament (which Lukashenko disbanded), and will not ratify the EU-Belarus partnership and cooperation agreement as long as democratic norms are not observed in Belarus.
In Seoul, meanwhile, the worldwide Interparliamentary union suspended the membership of Belarus on a Polish initiative. And in Bonn, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel made public a note expressing Germany’s protest against the persecution and closure of independent nongovernmental organizations in Belarus and restrictions on independent media. Only Russia has attempted to oppose the PACE, Europarliament, and Interparliamentary Union decisions. (Western and Russian agencies, April 16-21)
Moldova’s Parliamentary Majority Shoots Itself in the Foot.