1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Merkel to meet Belarus opposition leader

September 30, 2020

The German chancellor made the announcement during a speech to the Bundestag. Angela Merkel also praised the courage of Belarusian women demonstrating against embattled leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Angela Merkel and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya combo photo

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday she plans to hold talks with Belarus's main opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

The meeting would take place "soon," Germany's chancellor told the Bundestag during a speech as part of the government's ongoing 2021 budget debates.

"When you see the courage shown by the women who are appearing on the streets [in Belarus] for a free life without corruption, then I can only say: I admire that and find it truly impressive," she added.

Merkel's announcement comes a day after French President Emmanuel Macron met with Tsikhanouskaya and pledged to help mediate in her country's crisis.

Tsikhanouskaya fled Belarus to Lithuania fearing for her safety, following controversial presidential elections on August 9.

The vote saw President Alexander Lukashenko re-elected to a sixth term in office with 80% of the vote. He has held the post since its creation in 1994.

In the weeks following the disputed election, mass protests have swept Belarus. Women have played a leading role in the demonstrations and are among the country's top opposition figures.

Read more: Belarus: Scores of women arrested in anti-Lukashenko protest

Lukashenko in sight

During her speech on Wednesday, Merkel took aim at the current Belarusian leader. Germany would continue to work for democracy and human rights. This applies to Belarus and the relationship with Lukashenko, said Merkel.

Germany did not recognize the result of Belarus' presidential elections.

"We call on him to enter into a dialogue with his people, without interference from the East or the West," said Merkel.

"We condemn what happens [in Belarus] every day," including the "undermining of democratic procedures, the violence against the opposition," added the chancellor.

kmm/dr (Reuters, AFP)