Polish, Baltic MPs call on Belarusian authorities not to use force
The heads of the foreign affairs parliamentary committees from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Tuesday lodged an appeal to the Belarusian authorities to stop using force, release jailed protesters and start social dialogue.
A joint statement regarding the presidential election in Belarus was signed on behalf of the Polish Sejm (lower house) committee by Zbigniew Rau as well as by MP Juozas Bernatonis of Lithuania, MP Rihards Kols of Latvia and MP Enn Eesmaa of Estonia.
"With deep regret we have received reports of repressions towards civic society and the mass media, both during the election and after the vote held on August 9 in Belarus. The right to free elections is a fundamental value of democracy while the freedom of speech and assembly are among the basic human rights. That is why we appeal to the Belarusian authorities to immediately stop using force. The actions, we have been observing, do not fall within the scope of democratic standards," reads the statement.
The MPs called on the Belarusian authorities to release the jailed and start real social dialogue for the benefit of the expected changes, which the Belarusian people consider desirable and necessary.
They expressed their conviction that if the path of reforms were followed, this would help Belarus develop, would further deepen good-neighbourly relations between Belarus and the countries of the region, and animate dialogue with the EU. "We are ready to support these efforts by seeking constructive solutions for the benefit of our common future," they wrote.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the top opposition candidate in Belarus' presidential vote, who initially refused to concede her defeat amid a massive police crackdown on protesters, said Tuesday she has left for Lithuania and called on her supporters to end demonstrations.
Tsikhanouskaya previously dismissed the official results of Sunday's election showing President Alexander Lukashenko winning a sixth term by a landslide. Thousands of opposition supporters who also protested the results met with a tough police crackdown in Minsk and several other Belarusian cities for two straight nights.