I want to pay respect and tribute to the brave people of Belarus, including many of my friends, who continue to fight for a free, democratic and sovereign Belarus.
The continued repressions and brutality by the regime cannot go without consequences. As friends of the Belarusian people, we have a duty to stand with the people.
Dear colleagues, Mrs Tikhanovskaya,
I believe that there are four important steps we must take:
Firstly, we must continue to strongly insist and press for the immediate release of all political prisoners (such as Pavel Sevyarynets, who is being held in inhumane conditions now for months) and all those detained during the protests as well as in the pre-election period. The release of all political prisoners and detainees MUST be the No. 1 precondition for any dialogue with the regime.
Secondly, we must ensure targeted sanctions against all individuals, groups and entities responsible for the repressions. However, these sanctions must also target those individuals and entities who provide the regime with the financial resources that pay for the current repression.
Thirdly, as Andrius Kubilius said recently, we must observe and maintain a full record of all atrocities committees by the regime against the people so that these can be used to hold the regime accountable through legal means
And thirdly, as Sandra Kalniete pointed out, we must ensure that no EU money ends up in the hands of the Lukashenka regime. All EU financial resources must be redirected to support the people and civil society of Belarus.
I implore European leaders to stand with the people of Belarus in their desire for a free and democratic Belarus, and ensure that the regime is held accountable and brought to justice.
Photo: webnoviny.sk, SITA/AP