Polish PM: Democratization Condition For EU Help to Belarus

Posted September 6th, 2011 at 9:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk say democratic changes are a key condition for the European Union to support and rescue the crumbling economy in Belarus.

Mr. Tusk met with members of Belarusian opposition Tuesday in Poland's capital Warsaw. Poland took over the EU rotating presidency on July 1.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Tusk pledged continued support to the Belarusian opposition. He also said Europe will hold a dialogue with Minsk, but he stressed that any financial aid from the 27-nation bloc will depend on the political transformation in Belarus.

Belarus has asked for international loans as it fights a deepening financial crisis.

The European Union and the United States have imposed tough sanctions on Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko and his allies in response to their crackdown on the opposition.

President Lukashenko has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994. He was proclaimed the winner in the December presidential vote, which observers said failed to meet international standards.

Belarus authorities arrested hundreds of protesters, journalists and opposition leaders during the mass post-election demonstration December 19.

President Lukashenko recently began to release some of the political prisoners as he seeks an $8-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.