Marieluise Beck. Photo from Wikipedia
Emanuelis Zingeris. Photo by nnm.ru
Andrej Hiro, the Belarusian ambassador to Germany, was summoned to the Federal Foreign Office on Thursday and told that the German government did not understand the reason for visa denials for two members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s observation mission for Belarus’ September 18-23 House of Representatives elections, including Bundestag member Marieluise Beck, BelaPAN says.
Antje Leendertse, the Federal Foreign Office’s director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, made clear to Mr. Hiro that the “federal government has no understanding at all of electoral observers... and journalists being refused visas” ahead of the polls, a spokeswoman for the Office said in a statement.
“Constraints on press freedom, entry denials and hindrances to civil society are already a potential negative sign in the run-up to the elections and a further setback to social development in Belarus,” she added.
The Foreign Ministry of Lithuania has also issued the statement condemning the decision of Belarusian authorities not to issue a visa for head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Lithuanian Seimas Emanuelis Zingeris, Telegraf reports.
However, the Foreign Ministry of Belarus said the denial is not somehow connected to the election observation.
“The two citizens are foreigners who are unwelcome to enter Belarus,” Andrej Savinykh, the spokesperson for the FM told.
Emanuelis Zingeris and Marieluise Beck are known for their unwavering stance on Belarusian regime. Marieluise Beck have repeatedly called for restricting the sanction against Belarusian authorities and supported opposition and human rights in the country.
After she had been denied a visa, Marieluise Beck said it was a “further proof that the elections are a farce.”
“Dictator Lukashenka is not even trying to keep up appearances of free and fair elections if he locks journalists and observers out,” said Ms. Beck, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
“I'm feeling honored that Aliaksandr Lukashenka thinks I'm so dangerous that they have to deny the entry to me,” she said. “With the visa denial, Belarus affronts the OSCE and the instrument of election observation which was agreed between the states who take part in the OSCE. We will nonetheless follow closely the elections and political developments in Belarus even without a visa.”