Europeans call on Moscow to promote dialogue

Several European leaders called on Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to advocate for the crisis in Belarus, where the opposition has been protesting for ten days against the re-election of President Lukashenko.

For Europeans, the road to Minsk goes through Moscow. In any case, this is what suggests the bilateral telephone exchange between several European leaders with the head of the Kremlin before a meeting of the European Council on Wednesday 19 August.

Each in turn, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, exchanged on Tuesday with Vladimir Poutin about his ally, the Belarussian head of state. , Alexander Lukashenko.

Europeans’ goal: to promote a dialogue with the opposition, which is protesting for the tenth day in a row against the result of the presidential election.

Following her exile in Lithuania, the leader of the Belarusian opposition, Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa, on Wednesday called on the European Union to show firmness and to reject the results of the “fraudulent” presidential election on 9 August.

“I beg you not to acknowledge these fraudulent choices. Lukashenko has lost all legitimacy in the eyes of our nations and the world,” Tikhanovskaya said in English in a video sent to the Council of Europe and published on YouTube.

On Tuesday night, several thousand protesters gathered again in the Independence Square in Minsk, waving the red and white flags of the opposition and demanding the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko, who claims to have won 80% of the vote.

On the side of European leaders is above all to limit violence. On Tuesday, Emmanuel Macron called on his Russian counterpart to “promote reconciliation and dialogue” in Belarus, while Merkel stressed that Minsk would “refrain from violence” and start a dialogue with the opposition. The President of the European Council, for his part, called for a “peaceful and truly inclusive dialogue”.

The Kremlin has repeatedly warned of “any attempt at foreign interference” and condemned the “pressure” exerted on the Belarussian authorities. According to the Belta news agency, Putin informed Lukashenko by telephone about the content of his talks with European leaders.

Belarus is the subject of an extra EU summit on Wednesday, which results in an extension of the sanctions already imposed last week following the repression of demonstrations.

Since the disputed election on August 9, the pressure has increased on Alexander Lukashenko, who has led his country since 1994 but who faces daily rallies and a strike movement affecting several key sectors of industry.

With AFP