Offbeat meeting in Brussels: EU foreign ministers receive Tichanowskaja
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The Belarusian opposition politician informs about the events in the country over a working breakfast - much to the displeasure of Moscow. Foreign Minister Maas speaks out in favor of EU sanctions against Lukashenko personally.EU foreign ministers receive Tichanovskaya
The foreign ministers of the EU states received the Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya in Brussels on Monday. At a working breakfast before the meeting of foreign ministers, the 38-year-old informed about the events in Belarus. The EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell had invited Tichanowskaja. "We are really impressed with the courage and perseverance of the people in Belarus," he said. Especially the women in the country showed real leadership.
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Russia condemned the reception in advance as interference in the internal affairs of Belarus. "In view of the situation in Belarus, this runs counter to the goal of restoring stability," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Sakharova.
The EU foreign ministers want to discuss, among other things, sanctions against Belarus at their meeting. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) is in favor of personally examining EU sanctions against the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. "We have to realize that nothing has got better in the last few weeks. The violence that Lukashenko is using against peaceful demonstrators is completely unacceptable," said the SPD politician in Brussels. One therefore has to ask oneself whether Lukashenko, the person primarily responsible, should not also be on the sanctions list.
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Lukashenko is not on theOne reason for this is that it could complicate diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict and would deprive the EU of the opportunity to tighten its course again. The punitive measures planned so far have not yet been decided either. The EU country Cyprus has vetoed this.
Cyprus wants to get the EU member states to support new sanctions against Turkey. Cyprus and Greece have long been asking the EU to react more sharply to Turkish gas explorations in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, other EU states are of the opinion that this could make ongoing mediation efforts by countries like Germany more difficult. They therefore want to wait before agreeing to new Turkey sanctions proposed by Cyprus.
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Even before her meeting with the EU foreign ministers, Tichanovskaya had spoken out in favor of negotiations with President Lukashenko. "It would be an excellent solution to have a round table with him. But how can we motivate him to sit down?" Tichanovskaya told the Polish edition of Newsweek magazine. The opposition tried to contact Lukashenko through international channels, but has not yet received any reaction.Lithuania, Poland and Romania want a funding package
The presidents of Lithuania, Poland and Romania are pushing for a funding package from the European Union to support democratic change in Belarus. At this week's EU summit, they wanted to propose favorable trade relations and visa-free travel for the country, said Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausedas.
The three Eastern European countries also advocate financial support for reforms as well as assistance with the change towards a liberal economic order and with negotiations for accession to the World Trade Organization. The funding package is an "offer to a democratic Belarus". Last week, Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called for EU financial aid of at least one billion euros as part of a reconstruction plan for Belarus.
In Belarus there have been protests and strikes against the authoritarian head of state Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, since the presidential election on August 9th. He is accused of falsifying the election, which, according to official information, Lukashenko won with 80.1 percent of the vote. The protests have resulted in several deaths, hundreds injured and more than 10,000 arrests.
The democracy movement in the country sees Tichanowskaya as the winner. The opposition politician had left for the neighboring EU country Lithuania under pressure from the authorities. She lives there in exile. The EU did not recognize the presidential election and condemned the violence that followed under Lukashenko against peaceful demonstrators.
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