Belarus to be main subject of Polish-Lithuanian consultations: deputy FM

The situation in Belarus will be the focus of Polish-Lithuanian intergovernmental consultations in Vilnius on Thursday, the Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński announced on Tuesday. “It is the role of Poland, Lithuania and the entire EU to ensure that the voice of the Belarusian people in elections should be respected,” he said.

On Thursday, over 20 ministers from Lithuania and Poland will take part in the first joint meeting of the Polish and Lithuanian governments in history. The meeting will be co-chaired by Lithuanian and Polish PMs Saulius Skvernelis and Mateusz Morawiecki.

Asked by reporters about the subject of the talks, Mr Jabłoński said that the situation in Belarus "is now the most fundamental and important issue." He stated that the governments of Poland and Lithuania were among the most committed as far as Belarus was concerned, and said that the right of the Belarusian people to decide their future had to be respected by the international community and the European Union.

Mr Jabłoński rejected accusations by Belarusian and Russian propaganda that this is interference in the internal affairs of Belarus. "On the contrary. A clear intention to interfere in Belarusian internal affairs is being declared by the Russian government," he said.

The deputy minister also stated that the consultations will be focused not only on bilateral relations, but, above all, on "the coordination of our policies and our actions within the EU."

In this context, he mentioned the EU budget and migration, but said that Belarus was undoubtedly the most significant topic at present. He also spoke about the importance of the EU's response in the current situation.

The Lithuanian PM described the meeting as a new chapter in the development of bilateral relations, and said that both countries were in agreement as far as bilateral contacts and neighbourhood policy were concerned.

The meeting is also expected to sum up progress in the development of strategic partnership and debate cultural ties, policy for common historical remembrance and cooperation in education, as well as COVID-19-related questions.

On August 9, Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected president of Belarus having allegedly acquired 80.1 percent of the vote in the national elections, while his main contender Svetlana Tikhanovskaya ostensibly garnered 10.1 percent. Mass demonstrations in Belarus against what the protesters say was a rigged vote have been taking place since then, sparking brutal reactions from the police and security forces.

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