The President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Anders Knape, has made the following statement on the situation in Belarus:
"The events in Belarus following the Presidential election have brought to the fore the people’s desire for democratic change in the country and urgent need for dialogue between citizens and authorities.
Over the past several years, the Congress has pursued its co-operation with Belarus aimed at improving local self-government in the country, as we are convinced that democratic reforms must necessarily involve decentralisation of power to the local and regional level and greater citizens’ participation in governance of their communities.
The Congress will continue its support for democratisation in Belarus, stressing the importance of creating an environment based on citizens’ trust and engagement of civil society in decision making. We stand ready to bring our expertise in order to improve the country's legislative framework, in the light of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and its Additional Protocol on the right of citizens to participate in the affairs of local authorities. »