U.S. and E.U. Join to Show Support for Belarus Opposition

Belarus demonstrators hold a poster reading "Sasha, go away!" addressed to President Alexander Lukashenko, Nov. 24, 2010.

From Judy Dempsey, the New York Times:  The United States and the European Union joined Wednesday in Warsaw in a show of support for the democratic opposition in Belarus.

The move is a reaction to a violent crackdown last December after tens of thousands of demonstrators challenged the presidential election results.

During a donors’ conference organized by the Polish government, the United States pledged to increase its annual aid for human rights, educational groups and independent media to $14 million, up from $11 million.

“We want to show our solidarity with the people of Belarus in response to the brutal crackdown,” said Lee Feinstein, the U.S. ambassador to Poland. The American delegation was led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Daniel A Russell. …

On Wednesday, the E.U. enlargement commissioner, Stefan Fule, said the Union was now focused on how to strengthen the civil society movement in Belarus. Mr. Fule said the E.U. would quadruple its annual financial assistance to €16 million, or $22 million. He said it would be directed at Belarusian non-governmental organizations, independent media and students repressed by the Belarusian authorities.  (photo: Getty)

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