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EU foreign policy chief calls for free, fair election in Belarus

FILE PHOTO: European Union Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during a news conference following a European Union Foreign Ministers council in Brussels, Belgium July 13, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/Pool

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday called on Belarus, which will hold presidential elections this weekend, to ensure fundamental freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly and to guarantee candidates’ full political rights.

“The country’s sovereignty and independence can only be strengthened by peaceful, free and fair elections,” Borrell said in a statement.

He also urged Belarusian authorities to immediately release all activists, human rights defenders, bloggers and journalists detained on political grounds.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Kate Abnett