NEWARK— U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement condemning the widespread irregularities surrounding Sunday’s elections in Belarus:
“Alexander Lukashenka is living up to his reputation as the last dictator in Europe. Sunday’s ‘election’ was a sham and a tragedy for the Belarusian people who have risked so much for freedom. The government’s ongoing crackdown on the democratic opposition, as well as the arrest of American citizen Vitaly Shklyarov, is a calamity and completely unacceptable. Now more than ever, the international community must not waver in our steadfast support for democracy, human rights and the aspirations of the Belarusan people who deserve so much more from their elected representatives.
“In that vein, the Trump administration must make it clear that any recent gains in the U.S.-Belarus bilateral relationship will not carry currency unless the Belarusian authorities count Sunday’s ballots accurately or rerun this election under internationally accepted, democratic standards. If this violent assault on democratic values continues, it is my expectation for the United States and Europe to swiftly reimpose sanctions on Lukashenka and his associates.”