U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released online from January 1, 1997 to January 20, 2001. Please see www.state.gov for current material from the Department of State. Or visit http://2001-2009.state.gov for information from that period. Archive sites are not updated, so external links may no longer function. Contact us with any questions about finding information. NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.
U.S. Department of State

Great Seal

U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement


flag  bar

Press Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman
June 9, 2000

Belarus: Belarusian Authorities Assure Safety of Opposition Leaders

During the week of May 22-26, Belarusian opposition leaders Anatoly Lebedko, Vintsuk Vyachorka, Dimitry Bondarenko, and Pavel Zhuk met with State Department and National Security Council officials as well as Congressional leaders in Washington. Following these meetings, Belarusian ruler Aleksandr Lukashenko, whose legal term in office as President of Belarus ended on July 20, 1999, reportedly threatened to treat these opposition leaders as "possible security threats."

Subsequently, the State Department expressed concerns in Washington and Minsk about these alleged threats and received assurances from the Belarusian authorities that Mr. Lukashenko had been misinterpreted and that opposition leaders would face no reprisals on the basis of the meetings they had held in Washington.

The United States regards with great seriousness the safety and liberty of these individuals and welcomes these assurances. The resolution of the political and constitutional crisis in Belarus requires open dialogue between the opposition and the authorities, something that cannot occur in a climate of fear. To create a climate conducive to dialogue, the United States urges Belarusian authorities to immediately release of all political prisoners, including Vladimir Kudinov, Andrei Klimov, and Vasily Leonov; to terminate the political trial of Nikolai Statkevich and Valery Shchukin; to account for disappeared opposition leaders Yury Zakharenko and Victor Gonchar and to refrain from taking new steps that would lead the country further from democracy.

[end of document]

flag  bar

Press Statements Index | Department of State | Secretary of State