Belarusian Foreign Minister: Minsk is ready to discuss election results with the West
Belarus is ready to discuss elections and the situation in the country with foreign partners, said Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei during a telephone conversation with the head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis, as cited by BelTA
The talks took place against amid the increasing calls of European leaders to impose sanctions against Belarus for the harsh suppression of protests after the elections, the results of which the West refused to recognize.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for sanctions on Friday. ” We need additional sanctions against those who violated democratic values or abused human rights in Belarus,” she wrote on Twitter ahead of an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers.
She added that the meeting, where the possibility of sanctions will be discussed, “will demonstrate our strong support for the rights of the people of Belarus to fundamental freedoms and democracy.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “shocked” by the violence in Belarus and called for sanctions to be discussed.
The idea was supported by Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. Sanctions should be directed against those responsible for violence against protesters, arbitrary detentions, and Internet blockades, Schallenberg said in an interview with ORF radio station.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis called for the re-run of the presidential election in the presence of foreign observers.
Poland is preparing for an influx of refugees from Belarus, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said.
“We need to think about supporting people who need to cross the border quickly, but we need to be accountable to our European partners, that is, the Schengen border,” he added.
On Sunday, Presidential elections were held in Belarus. According to preliminary data of the Central Elections Committee, the current president of the country Alexander Lukashenko received more than 80% of the votes, his opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya – about 10%.
After the polling stations were closed, mass protests erupted across the country. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Minsk and more than 20 cities across Belarus. There were clashes with the security forces, who used stun grenades, water cannons and rubber bullets against the protesters.
On the evening of August 10, the Belarusian Interior Ministry reported the first death. The Belarus authorities claimed that the man allegedly unsuccessfully tried to throw an explosive device at the riot police.
The opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya left for Lithuania. Her electoral office said that her departure was organized by the Belarusian.