Russia accuses OSCE of instigating tensions in Belarus

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Friday of having instigated tensions during the parliamentary election campaign in Belarus , Russian news agencies reported. It was the first official comment from Moscow after riot police stormed into a square occupied by protesters in the Belarusian capital, detaining some 200 and bringing to an end an unprecedented, around-the-clock rally against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

"Long before the elections, the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights had declared that they (the elections) would be illegitimate and it was pretty biased in its commentaries on their progress and results, thus playing an instigating role," the Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying. The OSCE's observer mission said Sunday's election did not meet standards for a free and fair vote. "Arbitrary use of state power and widespread detentions showed a disregard for the basic rights of freedom of assembly, association and expression," the OSCE mission said, reports the AP.

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