Belarus Boycotts Summit to Strengthen Ties With the EU

Posted September 30th, 2011 at 7:00 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Belarus has boycotted the first day of a summit in Poland aimed at bringing former Soviet states closer to the European Union.

EU leaders have been telling Belarus, Ukraine and other countries seeking closer ties that they must demonstrate respect for democracy.

The Warsaw summit aims to improve cooperation with Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The EU is currently working on an association agreement with Ukraine, but some EU member states want to delay the talks because of the abuse of power trial of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Both U.S. and European Union officials have said the trial is politically motivated.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will meet with Ukraine president Alexander Lukashenko to demand he release all political prisoners.

Belaurus is also trying to address concerns over human rights issues. Chancellor Merkel says Belarusian rights activists are under considerable pressure after enduring elections widely seen as rigged.