Polish, Lithuanian presidents jointly appeal to Belarusian authorities

The Polish and Lithuanian presidents have appealed to the Belarusian authorities to fully recognise and observe democratic standards, to stop violence, and to respect fundamental freedoms and human and civil rights.

Presidents Andrzej Duda and Gitanas Nauseda in a joint statement also called on the Belarusian authorities to respect the rights of national minorities and the freedom of speech.

The two heads of state underlined that "dialogue has always been the best method to ensure social development and a debate concerning reforms and political actions."

"We have been treating Belarus' sovereignty and independence with the highest respect, and we hope that there will be conditions to deepen cooperation with the Belarusian people and state institutions," Presidents Duda and Nauseda wrote.

They also expressed their conviction that closer cooperation with the European Union was in the interest of Belarus. "We want the door to this cooperation to remain open, and we are ready to further support Belarus on the path leading to deeper relations with a united European family," reads the statement published late on Sunday.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko won re-election with 80 percent of the vote at the country's presidential election, the Central Election Commission said on Monday, citing preliminary results. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a former English teacher who emerged as Lukashenko's main rival at the elections on Sunday, won 9.9 percent of the vote, the election commission said.

The preliminary results were announced after Belarusian police fired water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades in a crackdown on protests that erupted on Sunday. At least one person was killed and dozens were injured in clashes between police and protesters after the Belarus presidential election, according to the rights group Spring 96.