French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday met with Belarus’ opposition leader in Lithuania during an official visit.
Macron discussed with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya the ongoing political crisis in Belarus, promising help with negotiations and the release of political prisoners.
The French president convened the early morning meeting in the capital Vilnius.
Tikhanovskaya had released a statement on Monday urging Macron to intervene in the troubled situation in Belarus.
“He promised us to do everything possible to help negotiations in the political crisis that our country is going through,” Tikhanovskaya said in a statement to France24 television.
“A lot of people are suffering because of the regime, too many people are in prison, and he will do everything possible to help the release of all political prisoners.”
Tikhanovskaya is going to speak on Oct. 7 to France’s National Assembly.
The 38-year-old politician ran as the main opposition candidate to incumbent Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in elections held in August.
She took the place of her husband, Sergei Tikhanovskaya, who had been the candidate but was arrested on May 29.
“We had a very good discussion but now we need to be pragmatic and to support the Belarusian people. We will do our best as Europeans to help mediate,” Macron said as reported by France24.
The embattled Lukashenko — leader of the Eastern European state for 26 years, is said to have regained the presidency in a landslide vote; the results, however, have been widely denounced, with demonstrations now in their 50th day in the country.
Tikhanovskaya claims legitimate victory in the election. For her safety, the leader has taken refuge in neighboring Lithuania.
Lukashenko was secretly sworn in last Wednesday, however, his presidency has not been recognized by the European Union.
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