Croatian FM meets Belarusian dissident Tsikhanouskaya in Bled

NEWS 02.09.2021 13:28
Source: JOHANNA GERON / POOL / AFP

Croatia's Foreign Minister, Gordan Grlic-Radman, met with Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia on Thursday, state agency Hina reported.

Tsikhanouskaya was the main opposition candidate in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election, widely seen as having been rigged by Western countries. The election was followed by mass protests in Belarus, which led to President Lukashenko, in power since 1994, to used force to suppress the opposition.

“We, the European Union, strongly condemned the prosecution, detention and harassment of protesters and appealed for respect for human rights, media freedom and all the freedoms on which the EU based,” Grlic-Radman said.

“Today we discussed how we can make Belarus and its people who aspire to freedom more visible at the European and global level,” he added.

Hina did not report any statements by Tsikhanouskaya.

Later on Thursday, Grlic-Radman travels to Brdo pri Kranju for a two-day informal meeting of EU ministers. The meeting will focus on Afghanistan, which he described as “a challenge and the conscience of humanity, a test of the viability of the international order.”

“If we don’t show initiative here, if we don’t show the strength of unity and ensure peace and stability, hardly will we be able to tackle new challenges,” he said.

Grlic-Radman said that EU ministers would discuss ways of preventing a new migrant wave by using instruments available to the EU and the evacuation of the remaining Afghans who had worked for Western institutions.

“We learned a lesson in 2015,” he said, referring to the year when more than a million refugees had arrived in Europe. “We were not ready then, and the migrant wave nearly disrupted the stability and survival of the EU,” Grlic-Radman said.

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