On May 17, 2006, International Republican Institute (IRI) President Lorne Craner met at IRI with Belarusian Opposition Leaders Anatoly Lebedko, leader of the United Civil Party in Belarus who has been imprisoned for his work to promote democracy in the country, and Alaksiej Janukievic, deputy leader of the Belarusian Popular Front. During the meeting, Craner discussed the importance of international support for democracy in Belarus. Lebedko and Janukievic thanked IRI for its role in helping to promote democracy around the world and for its support for democracy in Belarus.
The Belarusian leaders were in Washington D.C. for the International Democracy Union (IDU) executive meeting, which was hosted by IRI. During the executive meeting, the IDU unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Belarusian government’s actions against peaceful protesters of the March 19 election and called for the immediate release of political prisoners and an independent inquiry into the disappearances of opposition politicians.