Croatian FM Meets Belarusian Dissident Tsikhanouskaya in Bled

By 2 September 2021
Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya
Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya Jindřich Nosek

ZAGREB, 2 Sept 2021 - Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, met with Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia on Thursday.

Tsikhanouskaya was the main opposition candidate in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election, which was declared rigged by Western countries. The election was followed by mass protests, and President Lukashenko, in power since 1994, 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," Grlić 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.

Later on Thursday, Grlić 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.

Grlić Radman said that the 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," Grlić Radman said, stressing that the situation now was different.

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