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Speakers of V4 parliaments call for releasing political prisoners in Belarus

Speakers of the Parliaments of the Visegrad Group (V4) called for the release of political prisoners in Belarus and touched on “issues related to threats in not only Central and Eastern Europe, but also to the European Union” during the meeting which took place on Friday.

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Apart from the Sejm Speaker Elżbieta Witek and the Senate Speaker Tomasz Grodzki, the event organised at the Topacz Castle in Ślęza near Wrocław, southwest Poland, was attended by the heads of the National Assembly of Hungary László Kövér, the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Boris Kollár, and the Senate of the Czech Republic, alongside the Speakers of the Czech Senate Miloš Vystrčil and the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, Radek Vondráček.

In a joint statement, the speakers of the V4 parliaments stressed that they “jointly condemn all violations of international law,” providing examples of the explosion of ammunition docks in Vrbetice on the territory of the Czech Republic and a hijack of the passenger plane in order to arrest an activist of the Belarusian opposition on board.

They also supported the adoption of sanctions against the Minsk regime, stressing that they should not affect the citizens. The V4 parliaments’ speakers called for “free and fair presidential elections in Belarus to be held, for the release of all political prisoners, including journalists and representatives of national minorities, for refraining from repression of civil society and for holding accountable persons responsible for human rights violations.”

Other issues included in the statement were the support for the EU integration with the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership, and concern about the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine and tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the situation in Moldova and Georgia.

Apart from strictly political affairs, the meeting was also devoted to the issue of security after the EU recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the second part of the event, concerning the future of Europe, Senate Speaker Tomasz Grodzki stressed the importance of the debate over the new shape of the EU, and vowed that the V4 parliaments would be active in this context.

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