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Angela Merkel and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya
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Tsikhanouskaya calls for German mediation in Belarus

October 5, 2020

Ahead of a meeting with Chancellor Merkel, exiled leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya told DW that "Germany is one of the most powerful countries in the world and can be very helpful" in resolving her country's crisis.

https://p.dw.com/p/3jT0D

Belarus opposition leader calls for German support

Exiled Belarus politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Monday called for international support, including Germany's, amid the current political crisis in her country, during an interview with DW.

She said that Germany's support is even more important as it is "one of the most powerful countries in the world."

"It's extremely important because now we need help in mediation of our negotiations with the authorities. And we think that Germany and its leaders can be extremely helpful in this situation."

Read more: Angela Merkel will meet Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Tuesday

The German government on Monday reiterated its full support to peace anti-government demonstrations in Belarus, as Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to meet exiled opposition leader Tsikhanouskaya on Tuesday.

Merkel's spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer confirmed that the meeting would take place in Berlin, with the post-election crisis in Belarus as the main topic of discussion.

Tsikhanouskaya is also set to meet German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday.

Read more: German artists rally for Belarus opposition's Kolesnikova

Assistance form Russia

Tsikhanouskaya came second to authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko in August elections, according to the disputed official tally. Her supporters accuse Lukashenko of massive electoral fraud.

Anti-government protests in Belarus have rocked the country since the election, some attracting more than 100,000 people. Activists say that Lukashenko's regime has resorted to violence against peaceful demonstrators.

The 38-year-old politician fled to Lithuania after the controversial presidential election in August.

Read more: Belarus cancels all accreditation for foreign journalists

All sections of society in Belarus needed support, Tsikhanouskaya told DW.

"It can be any kind of help: Help for students, help for journalists, help for sportsmen – for all those people who are fighting for their rights, who are fighting for new elections."

She said the opposition was calling for assistance from all countries, including Russia, which supports President Alexander Lukashenko. "We prefer this to be done on the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) platform, where Russia is included and many other countries are included. And we want other countries including Russia to be helpful only like mediators in negotiations. But this problem has to be solved by Belarusian people themselves."

Merkel's admiration for Belarusian protesters

Merkel has repeatedly condemned the Belarusian government's violence against peaceful protesters while hailing women demonstrators' courage in standing up for the opposition.

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

Last week, Tsikhanouskaya met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who promised help to mediate in the political crisis in Belarus.

The European Union does not recognize the August election results. On Friday, the bloc imposed sanctions on Belarusian individuals for election fraud and human rights abuses.

Read more: EU threatens Belarus with 'measures against those responsible'

shs/aw (dpa, AFP)

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