President Bush said on Saturday there should be free elections in Belarus and ruled out any secret U.S. deal with Moscow to let President Alexander Lukashenko keep power.
"The only deal that I think is a necessary deal for
people is the deal of freedom. They should be allowed to express themselves in free and open and fair elections in Belarus," Bush told a joint news conference with the leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in the Latvian capital.
There are fears in Belarus' neighboring Baltic countries that Lukashenko will cut a deal to remain in power. Russia and the United States have clashed over Belarus with Moscow rebuffing calls by Washington for change.
Bush, on his way to Moscow for Monday's ceremonies marking the end of World War II in Europe, stressed during his stop in Latvia that for the Baltics the end of the war meant the start of decades of Soviet occupation.
Asked about the possibility of striking a deal to help Lukashenko, Bush said: "Can you make a deal to determine somebody else's fate?
"I think that's what we're lamenting here today about what happened to the Baltics -- one of those secret deals among large powers that consigns people to a way of governing. No, we don't make secret deals," he said.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
Support the Belarusian cartoonists
Third Way, the Belarusian organisation whose members are being prosecuted for producing satirical cartoons about Lukashenka,
have set up a web page where you can make a donation via PayPal. The group urgently
need money for their legal defence and operating expenses. Please give what you can today! Read more
We are continuing to focus our efforts on the Belarusian prisoner of conscience Mikhail Marinich.
We are campaigning for him to receive proper medical treatment, to be permitted to see his family,
and ultimately to be released from prison pending a review of his case. You can help by distributing
our factsheets and letters.
Members of these groups have joined our blog to share their views and experiences.