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Belarus president blames US, Europe for riots in Belarus after re-election

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 22 August 2020 9:39 AM

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has hit out at the US and allied European nations, saying they are sponsoring violent protests by opposition supporters across the country following his landslide re-election victory.

"The US is planning and directing it, and the Europeans are playing along," BelTA news agency quoted Lukashenko as saying Friday during a rally in Minsk. "A special center" has been set-up near the Polish capital of Warsaw for the effort, he noted.

"You know, when there is unrest nearby and tanks and planes begin to move, this is no coincidence," he added, further underlining that Western states were attempting to play the Belarusian card against neighboring Russia while referring to Belarus as "the only remaining link" in the West-conceived "Baltic-Black Sea corridor" that includes three Baltic states, Ukraine and Belarus.

Lukashenko defeated his main opposition contender Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in the August 9 presidential poll by winning just over 80 percent of the vote, according to the official Central Election Commission.

Rejecting the election results, Tikhanovskaya then departed Belarus for neighboring Lithuania and established a Coordination Council for the transition of power in Belarus amid raging protests across the country that led to violent clashes with police officers and arrest of thousands.

Snubs French president's mediation offer

During his public address, Lukashenko mockingly rejected an offer by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to mediate between his government and the opposition by counter-offering to mediate between Macron and the iconic anti-government Yellow Vests protest movement that led to months of huge rallies against Macron's policies across France.

Macron "wants to mediate negotiations in Belarus. First let me come, I'll be a mediator between the Yellow Vests and Macron," said the Belarusian leader.

Lukashenko went on to slam US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's criticism of Belarus following the August 9 election, insisting that Washington should first "sort out their own problems" amid persisting protests against police brutality across the US .

Lukashenko further emphasized that the violent protests in Belarus were orchestrated outside the country in an attempt to establish a buffer zone between Russia and the rest of Europe, saying that Minsk is "the last component preventing completion of the circuit."

An emergency European Union summit on Belarus was held on August 19, during which leaders of 27 EU states, as well as heads of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council approved a concluding statement that says the EU does not recognize the outcome of the Belarusian election and further demands a transparent probe into police violence.

The EU also plans to introduce sanctions against several Belarusian officials in the near future, according to press reports.

Moreover, the US has also claimed that the Belarusian presidential poll was not in line with the standards of free democratic elections, calling on the Minsk government to actively cooperate with the opposition-led Coordination Council.



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