French President Emmanuel Macron, currently on an official visit to Lithuania, met with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in Vilnius on Tuesday.
The former candidate in the Belarusian presidential elections arrived at the meeting with the French leader at approximately 08:30. Prior to the meeting, Tikhanovskaya’s spokeswoman said they will focus on discussing the possibility to hold new elections in Belarus.
“It is very important that the European countries do not remain indifferent to what is happening in Belarus,” Tikhanovskaya said in the press release. “Being one of the oldest democracies, France understands us perfectly well. Therefore I intend to remind Mr Macron of our main goal – new and transparent elections that should take place during this year.” Following the meeting, Tikhanovskaya told reporters that Macron “promised us to do everything just to help with negotiations […] for this political crisis in our country”.
“He told that time is very crucial because a lot of people are suffering because of this regime, too many people are in jails and he will do everything to help to release all the political prisoners,” she added.
Macron has not yet made any comments following the meeting.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said the country plays no role in the meeting between Macron and Tikhanovskaya,
“Lithuania plays no role in the work of the [Belarusian] opposition,” Linkevičius told LRT RADIO on Tuesday morning, adding that the country only provides “safety and support”.
On Monday, Macron said that France would seek to ensure that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) took a mediator’s role in resolving the crisis in Belarus.
“France will also spare no effort to ensure this mediation so that we could move forward,” he said at a joint press conference with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda in Vilnius.
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not object to such mediation, the French president said adding that “now it is necessary to obtain the consent of Alexander Lukashenko”.
“Our stance has been very clear from the very beginning – we do not recognise Alexander Lukashenko as the president of Belarus,” Macron said.
The French leader also voiced support for the European Union imposing sanctions against Belarusian regime officials.