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Iran Press TV

Russia slams EU for inviting Belarus opposition figure to ministerial meeting

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 20 September 2020 9:36 AM

Russia and Belarus have both criticized the European Union for making overtures to Belarusian opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who left the country for Lithuania after losing the presidential election to President Alexander Lukashenko.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Saturday that an invitation for Tikhanovskaya to attend a meeting of the EU foreign ministers amounted to interference in Belarusian affairs.

"EU foreign ministers’ overtures to the self-appointed Belarusian opposition representative and her invitation to Brussels ‘to communicate’ is an integral part of the scenario to meddle in Belarus’ domestic affairs. It is a brazen violation of fundamental norms of the United Nations Charter and the Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which anniversaries are marked by international community this year," she said.

Zakharova said Moscow would view this contact "as another proof of the European Union’s retreat from previous statements that there is no geopolitics in regard to Belarus."

She said the invitation was in line with a statement by Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, not recognizing Lukashenko as Belarus’ president and a resolution by the European Parliament calling for unconstitutional change of power in that country.

In a similar announcement, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry asserted on Saturday that Tikhanovskaya should not have been invited to the EU ministerial meeting.

Meanwhile, President Lukashenko has placed the military on high alert and closed the borders with Poland and Lithuania amid rising tensions with the West.

"I don't want my country to be at war. Moreover, I don't want Belarus and Poland, Lithuania to turn into a theater of military operations where our issues will not be resolved," he declared on Thursday.

The US and the EU have been contemplating imposing sanctions against Belarusian officials for alleged voter fraud and their response to violent riots in the wake of the August 9 election, which Lukashenko won by a landslide.

Lukashenko has previously warned that Western governments seek to destabilize the country.

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