On 21 September 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in a meeting of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council with an exchange of views on developments in Turkey, Russia and China, as well as a discussion on relations between the EU and the African Union, and the latest developments in Belarus.
The EU Foreign Ministers discussed potential EU support for a dialogue between the Belarusian society and the official authorities, including the EU’s financial support to the people of Belarus, as well as the ways to review EU-Belarus relations.
The Latvian Foreign Minister supported the position that the presidential election held on this past 9 September can be recognised as neither free nor fair; in view of this, the EU should send a clear message concerning Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. Sanctions and a review of relations must not harm Belarusian society and, therefore, the EU should continue its support for Belarus’s civil society, directing financial resources into medical treatment and rehabilitation of people who have been hurt by the violence and reprisals from Lukashenko’s regime, said Edgars Rinkēvičs. He added that the EU should maintain a dialogue with all Belarusian opposition politicians.
Edgars Rinkēvičs called for immediate approval of sanctions and made a point that one EU Member State must not jeopardise the actions of the EU as a whole by failing to take a decision on sanctions against Belarusian officials responsible for forceful detention and torture of peaceful protesters.
Before the Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Edgars Rinkēvičs took part in a working breakfast of EU Foreign Ministers with the candidate for Belarusian presidential elections, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, to hear her perspective of the political situation in Belarus.
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