This statement is made on behalf of Canada and my own country Norway.
I thank my esteemed Belarusian colleague for informing the Permanent Council of the The All-Belarusian People's Assembly.
However, we cannot fail to note that the Assembly is anything but inclusive. Prominent opposition leaders have been arrested or forced into exile. Excluded are also representatives from the civil society organisations that have organised the widespread, peaceful demonstrations we have observed in Belarus over the last six months. Thus, we have questions about the legitimacy of the Assembly.
An inclusive dialogue cannot take place under the current conditions of repression and widespread human rights abuses. Setting up this Assembly does not change that. We repeat our calls for Belarus to release all detainees, cease the violence and initiate a real dialogue with Belarusian civil society and the political opposition.