Bob Riley, Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, met on September 6 with the Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission, Lidiya Yermoshina, to discuss the preparations for the 2016 parliamentary elections and to encourage the CEC to take up meaningful reform of Belarus’s electoral legislation and regulations. The Chargé d’affaires stressed that the U.S. will look to the OSCE/ODIHR election observation report and other credible sources as we consider the conduct of the elections and sanctions relief later this fall.
Mr. Riley is also meeting with representatives of independent domestic election observation groups and the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission to understand their assessments of the electoral process to date. The Chargé d’affaires is also speaking with members of the political opposition and civil society to hear about their engagement in the electoral process.
As U.S. officials have previously stated, we encourage the Government of Belarus to take additional positive steps on democracy and human rights. We remain convinced that such constructive steps will strengthen Belarusian sovereignty and independence, which the United States firmly supports, and provide the foundation for continued improved relations between our two countries.