VILNIUS – An advisor to Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called on Friday for a fourth package of sanctions to be imposed as soon as possible to force the Minsk regime into dialogue with protesters.
"I believe this (fourth package of sanctions) should be implemented as soon as possible. We understand that the regime won't accept the offer of dialogue without pressure," Franak Viacorka told an online news conference hosted by the Lithuanian parliament. "Only pressure, that is, economic sanctions, and political and diplomatic isolation will force the regime to make concessions."
"Only serious political action at the level of the European Union, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom can yield any results. Once the sanctions are in place, we'll have to sit down at one table together and try to resolve the crisis peacefully," Tsikhanouskaya's advisor said.
"Thus, I'm appealing to the international community and the Lithuanian government, who are our friends: we all understand that if we do everything consistently and together with all other interested parties, then [we will achieve results]," he added.
Lithuanian MEP Petras Austrevicius said the fourth package of sanctions is "inevitable".
"That sanction package has to be much stronger" and be targeted at "those who actually commit crimes against the people and independence of Belarus", he said.
The EU has adopted three rounds of sanctions against Minsk over the Alexander Lukashenko regime's ongoing repression of protesters.
The Baltic countries have individually imposed sanctions against the regime on several occasions, too.
Belarus has been facing protests since Lukashenko claimed victory in last August's presidential election which the opposition and Western countries say was rigged.
Protesters demand the resignation of the authoritarian leader, the release of political prisoners and new elections.