The State Secretary, Andris Pelšs, expresses Latvia’s support for the Belarusian opposition in its efforts for a free and democratic Belarus

Laura Celmiņa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia

On 27 November 2023, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andris Pelšs, met with the Belarusian opposition leader and Head of the United Transitional Cabinet, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. During the meeting, they discussed the current situation in Belarus, in particular the regime’s repression of civil society activists and the democratic opposition.

Andris Pelšs expressed solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners and underlined Latvia’s continued support for the Belarusian opposition’s efforts for a free and democratic Belarus, condemning the increasing repression of civil society by the Lukashenko regime. On 27 November, the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners in Belarus, 1500 political prisoners are still being held in Belarusian prisons.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called on European Union countries to find solutions for extending and issuing travel and other legal documents to Belarusians. The situation for those living in exile has become more difficult in light of Alexander Lukashenko’s decision to suspend the renewal of travel documents for Belarusian citizens and the legalisation of documents at Belarusian embassies and consulates.

During the meeting, they discussed legal mechanisms to hold the Belarusian regime internationally responsible for the crimes it has committed: repression, hybrid attacks on the borders of European Union countries, and complicity in the deportation of Ukrainian children from Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine to Russia and Belarus.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya presented proposals to strengthen the sanctions mechanism, calling on the European Union to keep up the pressure on the Lukashenko regime.

During her working visit to Latvia on 27 and 28 November, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is scheduled to meet with the highest officials of Latvia – the President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs, Speaker of the Saeima, Daiga Mieriņa, and Prime Minister, Evika Siliņa, as well as Chairman of Riga City Council, Vilnis Ķirsis.

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