VILNIUS - "New Belarus", a conference organized by the Belarusian opposition in Vilnius is starting on Monday, held to discuss the situation in Belarus and coordinate its action.
"It's important that not only politicians, but also journalists, businessmen, activists, analysts, NGOs, doctors, painters, teachers and athletes will gather. And most importantly, the conference will offer virtual access for everyone," Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader in Vilnius, said.
Participants will discuss ways to achieve Alexander Lukashenko's exit, to get through a transitional period with the least economic damage to the country, and who should be responsible for this.
Conference participants are united by the common goal of removing the illegitimate regime, freeing and rehabilitating all political prisoners, defending the country's independence and withdrawing foreign troops, holding fair elections, and restoring democracy, according to the statement released by Tsikhanouskaya's office.
"Democratic movements see different paths towards these goals, and the aim of the conference is to analyze what has been achieved over the last two years and consider concrete proposals to overcome the crisis in Belarus," the statement reads.
The conference will take place on Monday and Tuesday.
After Lukashenko officially won the presidential election in August, 2020, the Belarusian opposition refused to recognize his victory. The country saw unprecedented mass protests for more than six months, but the regime eventually suppressed them.
The human rights group Viasna reports on its website that there are currently 1,200 political prisoners in Belarus.
The European Union and the US do not recognize Lukashenko as Belarus' legitimate president, and the West has imposed sanctions on Minsk.
For their part, Belarusian law enforcement has opened a terrorism case against Tsikhanouskaya opposition figure Pavel Latushka and their associates.
After Russia launched its war in Ukraine in February, Lukashenko, a long-standing Kremlin ally, voiced his support to Moscow and Belarus has been acting as a rear base for the Russian military forces.