Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Friday called for the presidential election in Belarus to be rerun with independent monitoring, ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Protests are continuing for the sixth day in Belarus following President Alexander Lukashenko’s claimed victory in Sunday’s election that was described as “neither free nor fair” by the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. Belarusian authorities have been widely condemned amid increasing evidence of police brutality against protesters.
“The elections in Belarus must be repeated, transparent and in the presence of foreign observers,” Babiš wrote on Twitter, adding that alongside Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki he was requesting a videoconference of EU leaders under the European Council to be urgently convened.
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša on Thursday told a press conference in Bled alongside U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that new elections were necessary. “The only peaceful solution to the current crisis in Belarus is to repeat elections under the strong presence of international observation missions.”
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EU foreign ministers are holding an emergency videoconference Friday after the EU threatened sanctions earlier this week. However, no formal announcement is expected from the meeting, with a decision instead expected only when foreign ministers meet in person on August 27 and 28.
“We need additional sanctions against those who violated democratic values or abused human rights in #Belarus,” tweeted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday. “I am confident today’s EU Foreign Ministers’ discussion will demonstrate our strong support for the rights of the people in Belarus to fundamental freedoms & democracy.”
Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg on Friday told ORF Radio that EU countries must place impose sanctions on the country.
Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei described a “readiness of the Belarusian side for a constructive and objective dialogue with foreign partners on all issues related to the developments in Belarus” on Friday morning in a phone call with his Swiss counterpart.