Lithuanian president backs Polish initiative to hold emergency EU summit on Belarus

  • 2020-08-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Monday he supports Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki's initiative to hold an emergency European Union summit on the situation in Belarus.  

“At this stage, people of Belarus who want change in their country need the support of the international community and the European Union," Nauseda said in a press release.

"I support the proposal of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to hold an extraordinary EU Summit to discuss the situation in Belarus," the president said. 

"The aspirations of the citizens of Belarus deserve adequate attention from the EU and Western countries," he added. 

Nauseda said Sunday's presidential election in Belarus "cannot be considered democratic and transparent" and called on Belarus' authorities to release protesters.

"Citizens’ rights, freedom of speech and expression were not respected in these elections. I urge the Belorussian authorities to release all peaceful protesters, journalists as well as representatives of the civil society detained during the elections and, together with the Polish leaders, I call upon the heads of the EU institutions to respond to the situation in Belarus at the highest level," he said.

The Polish prime minister said earlier on Monday that he had called for an emergency European Union summit on the developments in Belarus. 

Poland is traditionally represented at EU meetings by its prime minister, and Lithuania, by its president.

Nauseda and Polish President Andrzej Duda issued a joint statement last night, calling on Belarus' government to adhere to democratic standards, respect human rights and refrain from using force against protesters.

Belarus' incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner of Sunday's election with 80 percent of the vote, but the opposition denounced the result as rigged. 

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Lukashenko's main challenger, refused to accept defeat and demanded that he transfer power to the opposition.

Belarus' police say they detained 3,000 people for taking part in unauthorized protests. According to the authorities, 50 civilians and 39 police officers were injured in clashes in the capital. 

Lukashenko on Monday described opposition supporters as "sheep" controlled from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom.

Opposition supporters plan to gather for more protests on Monday evening to demand the release of political prisoners and a new, fair election.