EU calls on Belarus to drop criminal case against opposition body

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BRUSSELS — The European Union called on Belarus on Friday to drop a criminal case Minsk has launched against a new opposition body this week.

“We expect the Belarusian authorities to stop the criminal case and instead to engage in a dialog in view of moving towards a peaceful way out of the current crisis,” Nabila Massrali, an EU spokeswoman for foreign policy and security affairs, said in a statement.

“The Coordination Council, which consists of representatives of different parts of Belarusian society, reached out to the authorities for a dialog and the authorities answered with the opening of a criminal case. In doing so, the Belarusian state authorities have once again reverted to intimidation based on political grounds.” (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alison Williams)