Lithuania, Poland and Latvia ready to serve as mediators in Belarusian crisis
Lithuania, Poland and Latvia are ready to mediate between the Belarusian government and the opposition after Sunday's presidential election prompted bloody street protests, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Wednesday (August 12). The use of violence by Belarusian authorities to peaceful protests has also been condemned by the United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet.
Nauseda said Belarusian authorities must first stop violence against protesters, release detained demonstrators and form a national council with members of civil society that would seek to find a way out of the crisis.
"Situation in Belarus remains in a state which causes great concerns. The bloodshed and persecution of people continue, journalists are jailed, and and we, as a neighbour state, the state which together with other regional states are looking into how to solve the crisis. So I want to offer a three-point plan, which could become a prelude for region's president intermediation in solving the political crisis in Belarus," president Nauseda said.
"First, the Belarusian government's institutions cease the use of violence against their citizens and de-escalate the situation. Second, Belarusian government releases detainees, who are in thousands, all protest participants which have undergone repressions up until now and the third point is Belarusian institutions, Belarus renews dialogue with its civil society," he explained.
The President of Lithuania also suggested that "an acceptable step in that direction would be creating a form of a certain national council consisted of the government and civil society representatives and its goal would be to look for the solution to come out of the crisis in the middle term."
"These points are acceptable to begin the discussion and then Latvian president and Polish president are looking favourably towards this initiative and would agree to intermediate together with me in de-escalating the situation and crisis which is developing in Belarus," he stressed.
"If our initiative is met in a negative way, of course, the other means remain on the table - and that is sanctions, either at the European level or at the national level," Nauseda told reporters in Vilnius.
U.N. condemns violence and arrests
The United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday condemned the use of violence by Belarusian authorities to peaceful protests after President Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in Sunday's election.
Bachelet said police were reported to have used excessive force, firing rubber bullets, using water cannons and throwing stun grenades.
"Reports suggest that more (than) approximately 6,000 people have been detained in the last three days, including bystanders, as well as minors, suggesting a trend of massive arrests in clear violation of international human rights standards," she said in a statement.
"Even more disturbing are the reports of ill-treatment during and after detention", she said, calling for the release of all those unlawfully detained and for investigations into abuses.
Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has fled to neighbouring Lithuania to join her children there, after strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko's claim of victory in Sunday's (August 9) presidential election prompted bloody street protests.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters