Baltics taking steps to meet with Belarusian government officials in Minsk, Lithuanian PM says

  • 2020-08-20
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuania, together with the other Baltic countries, is taking steps to meet with Belarusian government officials in Minsk to discuss the situation in the neighboring country, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Thursday. 

Skvernelis told reporters in Vilnius that he had discussed the issue with his Baltic counterparts back on August 14. 

"We are looking for ways to get the mediation institute going. Steps are being taken today, too, and we may have some news," the prime minister said. "One of the options is to establish some contact with the (Belarusian) government (...) at the level of foreign ministers or prime ministers".  

He confirmed that efforts were being made to arrange a meeting in Minsk. 

Earlier on Thursday, Skvernelis met with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the opposition challenger in Belarus' disputed presidential election, in his office.  

Tikhanovskaya, who fled to Vilnius shortly after the election, is feeling safe and is considering returning to Belarus, according to Skvernelis. 

Belarus has been engulfed in mass protests since Alexander Lukashenko declared victory in the August 9 presidential election with 80 percent of the vote. The opposition has dismissed the result as rigged.

Around 7,000 people were arrested in a police crackdown on protesters. Some detainees said they had been tortured in jail. 

EU leaders say they have failed to make contact with Lukashenko after the election.