Offer to mediate in Belarus crisis still stands, says OSCE chairwoman

Nur-Sultan, Apr 12 (EFE).- The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s offer to mediate in the Belarusian political crisis between the Alexander Lukashenko regime and the opposition remains valid, the organisation’s Chairperson-in-Office, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, said on Monday.

“When problems arose in Belarus, when unfair, unfree elections were held and many people were arrested and mistreated, the OSCE decided to propose facilitating dialogue between the regime and civil society,” Linde said after meeting Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi.

“This proposal is still valid today and we hope that there will be an opportunity in Belarus to hold free elections for all political forces and for those people who want to have freedom of choice,” she said at a press conference in Kazakhstan as part of a tour of Central Asia that will also take her to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

On 7 August, the Belarusian opposition in exile, led by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, offered President Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, negotiations to find a solution to the crisis in which the country has found itself since the August 2020 presidential elections, described as fraudulent by the West and the president’s rivals.

Tikhanovskaya, who considers herself the legitimate winner of the elections, proposes the OSCE as mediator in the talks, as this would allow Russia, a major supporter of the Lukashenko regime, to be included in the process.

The leader of the Belarusian opposition in exile, who lives as a refugee in Lithuania, considers that “Russia’s position is the main obstacle to the solution of the crisis in Belarus.”

She also believes that Germany and France, which are already involved with Russia in talks on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the US, which acts a guarantor for security and political stability in the region, and Switzerland should play a mediating role.

The Belarusian opposition tried unsuccessfully to resume mass protests against Lukashenko on 25 March, coinciding with Freedom Day, the anniversary of the Belarusian People’s Republic’s proclamation of independence in 1918, with several hundred people being arrested. EFE


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