U.S. regrets Belarus' decision to close OSCE office

January 4, 2011 11:14 am 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 — The U.S. State Department said on Monday that the United States regretted Belarus' decision to terminate the office of the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in the capital city of Minsk.

"It was founded to assist the Belarusian government in institution-building, promoting the rule of law, and encouraging outreach to civil society. And the mandate of that mission is not completed, as the OSCE's critical assessment of the presidential elections indicates," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.

"So, unfortunately, this is a step backwards in the development of democratic government and respect for human rights in Belarus," he said.

Belarus has decided not to extend the mandate of the OSCE's office in Minsk, the country's Foreign Ministry said on Friday. (PNA/Xinhua) ALM

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