Visegrad Group presidents issue joint statement on Belarus

The presidents of the Visegrad Group (V4) states have issued a joint statement on Belarus, in which they have called on the Belarusian authorities to open up the path for a political solution to the crisis.

"We are calling on the Belarusian authorities to observe human rights and freedoms and to refrain from using violence against peaceful protesters," reads the statement signed by the presidents of Poland - Andrzej Duda, of the Czech Republic - Milos Zeman, of Slovakia - Zuzana Caputova, and of Hungary - Janos Ader.

The four heads of state have expressed their deep concern over the presidential election, whose result has not been approved by the Belarusian people. "Being EU and NATO members, we recognise the justified aspirations of the Belarusian people and we are aiming for a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in Belarus, which will be compatible with the law," they wrote.

The V4 presidents underlined their support for the right of Belarus "to hold a free, honest and democratic presidential election." They also welcomed with satisfaction the decision to hold a videoconference of the European Council in order "to take all necessary steps - in accordance with a statement of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy - to start dialogue between the Belarusian authorities and society, and to debate solidarity actions with the people of Belarus."

The four presidents also called on "all foreign subjects to refrain from actions undermining the independence and sovereignty of Belarus."