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Security Council – Meeting in Arria Formula on the situation in Belarus

Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Meeting in Arria Formula on the situation in Belarus —

Thank you, Mr. President.

First off, allow me to express Italy’s appreciation for this meeting, which allows us to focus on the most recent developments in Belarus.

Let me also express our support for the statement that will be made by the Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service.

The situation in Belarus continues to be a source of concern. Italy – along with its partners – has condemned the repression against those who have been peacefully voicing their protest after the elections of August 2020 that lacked any democratic legitimacy due to numerous manipulations and irregularities.

Such disturbing situation remains unresolved and repression on human rights defenders, journalists and other media workers, as well as on political opponents and civil society organizations is continuing with impunity.

The forced diversion and landing of Ryanair flight 4978 jeopardized international civil aviation safety, including the trust that pilots must place in air traffic controllers’ instructions, and showed flagrant disregard for international norms.

More recently, Belarusian authorities have manipulated migration flows to take advantage of vulnerable citizens from third countries, fueling illegal border crossings from Belarus to neighboring States.

Italy condemns the instrumentalization of human trafficking for political purposes with the objective of destabilizing neighboring countries and diverting attention from increasing human rights violations.

It is also deplorable that the Belarus authorities and State media are sponsoring disinformation and propaganda campaigns to discredit European Union Member States and to provoke more tension in the neighborhood.

We once again urge the Government of Belarus to follow a path of dialogue with the opposition forces, to release all political detainees and to work for some form of genuine political transition towards the ultimate objective of free and fair elections.

In this regard, we are ready to support a possible OSCE mediation role, which would guarantee impartiality as well as the respect of Belarus’ independence and sovereignty. Full implementation of the “Benedek Report” would also be desirable.

The current crisis in Belarus is, first and foremost, about Belarus’ citizens and their legitimate aspirations. Anybody willing to paint it as the result of a “geopolitical competition” is simply missing the point or, worse, trying to alter the facts.

In this context, all influent international actors are invited to play a constructive role to foster a genuine and inclusive political dialogue in Belarus.

Our common objective should be to support the Belarusian people in this plight and facilitate a peaceful resolution through a meaningful dialogue between the Government and all the opposition forces. It is not up to us to say what shape this dialogue should take, as long as it is genuine and inclusive.

This is our renewed appeal to the Belarusian leadership.

I thank you.