Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for restraint and calm in Belarus as the country is engulfed in protests following Sunday’s presidential poll, said his spokesman.

The secretary-general is closely following developments in Belarus, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.

The UN chief underlines the importance of enabling all Belarusians to exercise their civil and political rights, which include expressing their views peacefully in accordance with the law, the statement said.

Guterres calls on Belarusians to address post-election grievances through dialogue to preserve peace in the country, it said.

Earlier on Friday, Dujarric said the United Nations welcomed the reported release of some of the detainees on Thursday night and urged this to continue.

“We take note of the statement of regret by the (minister) of interior of Belarus regarding the use of force and expect these incidents and claims to be investigated thoroughly,” he told a daily virtual press briefing.

The United Nations remains in touch with Belarusian authorities in New York, Geneva and Minsk regarding the unfolding situation, he said.

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