Latvia pledges "unwavering support" to democracy in Belarus

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On 13 November 2020, the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, met with the leader of the Belarusian opposition, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and effective president-elect of the country, who was also taking part in the annual security and foreign policy forum the Rīga Conference 2020.

"Edgars Rinkēvičs pledged Latvia’s unwavering support for the people of Belarus, and he underlined that the Belarusian civil society has the key role to play in deciding the future of its country. Latvia will continue standing up for the sanctions policy to be kept in place against the Belarusian officials who are responsible for unjustified violence and repression on the part of law enforcement authorities and for falsifying election results," a statement from the Ministry said.

Rinkēvičs and Tsikhanouskaya were reportedly "of the one mind that the only positive solution to the situation in Belarus would be the holding of new presidential elections that are fair and free and take place in the presence of international observers."

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya expressed her appreciation and thanks to Latvia for its assistance to civil society in Belarus and for adopting a clear stance concerning the Belarusian people and their demands to honour their democratic fundamental rights.

Possible scenarios for developments in Belarus were examined during the conversation and an exchange of opinions was held on possibilities for providing further assistance to those who have suffered at the hands of the Belarusian authorities during their brutal repression of peaceful protestors.

As part of her visit in Riga, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya also meets with the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, for a discussion on support provided by Latvia and possibilities for offering further assistance to members of civil society in Belarus.

Tsikhanouskaya also met with Latvian State President Egils Levits, who expressed similar sentiments.

"One can only admire the people who have been demonstrating and opposing this regime continuously for more than two months, despite the repression. Our sympathies are clearly on the side of the Belarusian people," said President Levits.

"The unity of the opposition is very important for a democratic outcome and a change of regime in Belarus. Regarding Latvia's position: Latvia does not recognize the current President of Belarus as legitimate. We support the demand of the Belarusian opposition and Ms. Tsikhanouskaya for free, democratic elections," Levits said.


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