Excerpts from A/S Gordon’s “The U.S. Relationship With Central Europe Under the Obama Administration” Speech
Delivered at the Global Security 2011 Forum
March 3, 2011
“The United States and the European Union acting in concert can send a powerful message of solidarity, something we have done recently with respect to Belarus. Together with the targeted set of sanctions that both the EU and the United States announced on January 31st, we have sent a very clear message to the government of Belarus and to Mr. Lukashenko that business as usual will not continue as long as the suppression of civil society, the opposition to independent media continue, and demonstrators are detained, tried and sentenced, which in our view makes them political prisoners. We call on the government of Belarus to release those detainees now.
We were also gratified that Poland recently hosted a very successful Donors Conference in Warsaw that raised 87 million euros. At that conference the United States increased its assistance to civil society in Belarus by more than a third in order to support civil society, media freedom, and political competition. We feel strongly that we not only need to send a message to the government of Belarus that there are negative consequences to its actions, but we need to stand by the people of Belarus and support them in all ways that we can.
In addition to these steps the leaders of the region have spoken out consistently and strongly for reform in countries like Belarus, and we will continue to join you in voicing our support for democracy in Belarus and elsewhere in the region.”