RIGA - Given our historical experience, it is, to a certain extent, our duty to show solidarity with the people of Belarus who stand for democracy and independence, Latvian President Egils Levits told reporters today.
Levits indicated that Latvia supports individual sanctions against people who have participated in repressions in Belarus or falsified the election results. However, Latvia does not support general economic sanctions against Belarus, which would negatively impact all its inhabitants. "We think these individual sanctions could be an appropriate tool," the president said.
Today, Levits met with the organizers of yesterday's rally outside of the Belarus Embassy in Riga in support of the people of Belarus.
Speaking about the rally, the president acknowledged the solidarity shown by Latvian civil society, because 30 years ago this solidarity was also important for Latvia in its struggle for independence and democracy. "Every expression of solidarity is important," Levits said.
The president thanked the organizers of the rally for showing solidarity, emphasizing that the situation is not over. Levits expressed the hope that the situation in the neighboring country would be resolved in such a way that Belarus, as an independent and democratic country, could continue on this path and that Latvia would continue to have good neighborly relations with Belarus.
Levits also said that he and the presidents of Lithuania and Poland will come forward with a joint announcement in the near future, which, as the president said, can be divided into three parts: firstly, the presidents demand that the situation be de-escalated and that all violence must be stopped, secondly, that the situation be investigated, and thirdly that human rights be respected, including the right to express one's opinion freely in public.
According to the President, the democratic movement in Belarus is decentralized and advocates a democratic and independent Belarus. Such a Belarus is in the interests of both the people of Belarus and the European Union.