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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Belarus opposition leader urges US to pressure President Lukashenko

Belarus’ main opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, called on the US to put more pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko’s government.

Tsikhanouskaya made her appeal directly to officials in the administration of president Joe Biden on Monday (19/7) in Washington, as she met Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland and others.

“I thank him for supporting the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian people. I call on the US to strengthen aid to our civilians, put economic and political pressure on the regime, and call on Russia to play a constructive role in resolving the crisis,” Tsikhanouskaya tweeted after the talks.

He said their discussion also included ways to support media freedom in Belarus after the government’s crackdown on journalists.

Tsikhanouskaya is Lukashenko’s main challenger in the August 2020 election which the opposition considers and many Western countries rigged. He fled his country after the election while Lukashenko’s government cracked down on protests.

State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, “They discussed the ongoing repression, the crackdown by the Lukashenko regime, and the steps we and the international community have said the Lukashenko regime should take.”

Blinken tweeted that the group discussed ways to end the crisis in Belarus, which include “the release of all political prisoners, inclusive dialogue and new elections.” [uh/ab]

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