Accompanied by sharp criticism from the ministries in moscow and minsk, belarusian opposition leader svetlana tikhanovskaya has been received in brussel by the EU countries’ foreign ministers.
38-year-old informed on monday morning about the events in her country, said eu eagle commissioner josep borrell. "We are really impressed by the courage and perseverance of the people of belarus," he said. Women in the country in particular showed real leadership strength.
Russia condemned in advance the EU reception for tikhanovskaya as interference in the internal affairs of belarus. "Given the situation in belarus, this runs counter to the goal of restoring stability," said russian aube ministry spokeswoman maria zakharova.
Russia sees itself being called upon by the opposition in belarus to stay out of the country’s affairs. The democracy movement in the country sees tikhanovskaya as the winner of the presidential election of 9. August. Russia, on the other hand, considers controversial leader alexander lukashenko the victor.
Meanwhile, german foreign minister heiko maas advocates a personal review of EU sanctions against belarusian president alexander lukashenko. "We must note that in the last few weeks nothing has improved. The violence that lukashenko is using against peaceful demonstrators is completely unacceptable," the SPD politician said on monday on the fringes of consultations of EU foreign ministers in brussels. The question must now be asked whether lukashenko should not also be included on the sanctions list as the main perpetrator.
So far, lukashenko has not been among those the eu wants to sanction for electoral malpractice or the violent suppression of peaceful protests. The reason given was that sanctions against lukashenko personally could complicate diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict and deprive the EU of the opportunity to tighten its course once again.
In the meantime, it remains unclear when the EU will be able to decide on the planned penalty reductions. The reason is a veto by the small EU country cyprus, which wants to persuade the other member states to support new sanctions against turkey.
Before her appearance in brussel, tikhanovskaya spoke out in favor of round-table negotiations with president alexander lukashenko. "It would be an excellent solution to sit down at a round table with him. But how can we motivate him to sit down??"Tikhanovskaya told the polish edition of newsweek magazine. The opposition has also tried to contact lukashenko through international channels, but there has been no response from him, tikhanovskaya said.
The EU’s representative on foreign affairs, josep borrell, invited 38-year-old tikhanovskaya to a working breakfast before the meeting of EU foreign ministers. Tikhanovskaya is to have the opportunity to inform the chief diplomats directly about the situation in her country. The EU did not recognize the presidential election and also condemned the subsequent violence under lukashenko against peaceful demonstrators. Meanwhile, there have been several deaths, hundreds injured and more than 10.000 arrests.
Russia politically and financially supports lukashenko, who is described as "europe’s last dictator". At the beginning of august, after 26 years in power, the 66-year-old had himself declared the winner of the election for the sixth time – with 80.1 percent of the vote. Kremlin leader vladimir putin congratulated him on the victory.
On sunday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in belarus for the sixth time in a row. They demonstrated for an end of the "brutal regime", for the release of political prisoners and new elections without lukashenko. The ruler refuses a dialogue with the opposition and repeatedly stressed that he will not give up power.
Russia calls for an all-society dialogue and supports lukashenko’s proposal for constitutional reform. The belarusian ministry of foreign affairs also called on the EU to support this path to a new constitution. At the same time, vladimir makei threatened the EU with countermeasures if the ministers reimposed sanctions on belarus on monday.
The EU is now trying to put pressure on belarus in various international forums, makej said. A possible reaction would be a sanctions list against european officials and the withdrawal of accreditation for foreign correspondents in belarus. More radical steps would be to review the cooperation in international organizations or the establishment of diplomatic contacts with individual countries.
Pirates take new run at democracy softwareThe new rules are intended to help overcome the resistance that still exists within the party. Long-term goal is then a liquid democracy – here existing…
World champion peiffer falls – fourcade back againFor arnd peiffer his season debut ended with painful bruises and a bleeding laceration. Away from the television cameras, the world champion had fallen…
Lowest unemployment in almost 25 yearsThe autumn upswing brought the number of unemployed in germany down to the lowest level in almost 25 years. According to the federal employment agency…
Coburg trip 20000 kilometers for “the teamWhen the german national team competes on 17. When the soccer-mad stephan heinzler starts the world cup tournament against mexico in the lushniki stadium…