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High Representative for Foreign Affairs/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır issued this statement following a working dinner tonight in Brussels, ahead of tomorrow's European Union-Turkey Association Council:

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The decision by a Belarusian court to further punish former presidential candidate and political prisoner Mikalay Statkevich, transferring him to a cell-type prison for allegedly violating prison rules, is deplorable. Detained since December 2010, Mikalay Statkevich continues to suffer unacceptable treatment.

The importance of releasing all political prisoners remains crucial in the context of improving EU-Belarus relations.

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In view of reports about 'parliamentary elections' in Nagorno-Karabakh on 3 May, we reiterate that the European Union does not recognise the constitutional and legal framework within which they are being held. These procedures cannot prejudice the determination of the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh or impact on the negotiation process.

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