Belarus should be a sovereign, independent state, says Duda

The Polish president has called for Belarus to be a democratic, fully sovereign and independent country.

Thousands of people have been arrested and many attacked by the Belarusian security forces since presidential elections last summer, widely believed to be have been rigged, returned the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko for a sixth term.

The election result triggered huge anti-government protests that were met with a savage response from the authorities.

"We want Belarus to be heading for democracy and to become a fully sovereign and independent country," President Andrzej Duda said after a meeting with Klaus Iohannis, his Romanian counterpart, in Bucharest on Monday.

"We want the ambitions and aspirations of the Belarusian people, all people living in Belarus, Belarusian citizens, to come true," Duda told reporters.

The Polish president stated that the point was to follow developments in Belarus, be ready for any threats, and defend Belarus on the international forum so that its sovereignty remained untouched.

Duda also added that the situation of the Polish minority in Belarus was difficult due to the continuing repression of its leaders.