Paris, Aug 21 (IANS) French President Emmanuel Macron said that the European Union (EU) is ready facilitate a dialogue in Belarus along with Russia and other institutions amid the ongoing tensions in the Eastern European country.
“We hope that this dialogue can be established by the Belarusians themselves. But the EU stands ready to accompany them — if our role of mediation can be useful and desired by the Belarusians, with other institutions, notably the OSCE, and including Russia,” Xinhua news agency quoted Macron as saying on Thursday at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel said that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko “has not sought to speak” to any EU leaders.
“It is clear we are telling (Russian President Vladimir) Putin that we are seeking a dialogue,” she added.
Lukashenko said on Wednesday that Western leaders should focus on their own problems rather than the political situation in Belarus, state news agency BelTA reported.
“They are having a lot of problems at home. Do not point at Belarus in order to draw attention away from the issues in France, the US, Germany and so on,” he said at a meeting of his national security council via video link.
Belarus is engulfed in mass protests after Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, won a sixth term during the August 9 elections, with the opposition refusing to recognize the results.
In the election, the President won 80.1 per cent of the votes, while the main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya garnered only 10.12 per cent.
Tikhanovskaya, who left for Lithuania after publicly denouncing the results, insists that where votes were properly counted, she won support ranging from 60-70 per cent.
Also on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia is concerned about foreign interference in the internal affairs of Belarus.
“I will not specify these forces and countries. There is indirect and even direct interference. We are concerned in this regard,” Peskov told a daily briefing.
Moscow is convinced that the problems in Belarus should be resolved by the Belarusians themselves through dialogue within the legal framework, he added.