BERLIN (AP) — Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said Wednesday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would be an ideal person to mediate the political crisis in her country.
Tsikhanouskaya said in Berlin that Merkel is “aware of what’s going on there” and “would be really helpful in solving this problem.” Tsikhanouskaya met with Merkel behind closed-doors on Tuesday.
Tsikhanouskaya laid out her aspiration following talks with Norbert Roettgen, a top lawmaker in Merkel’s conservative party.
“So, our main ask for her was to be a leader in this mediation, to call for other countries to participate in mediation for starting this negotiations,” Tsikhanouskaya said
Merkel has not indicated whether she would be willing to take on such a role, and even if she did, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has rejected repeated calls for dialogue with the opposition.
Tsikhanouskaya went into exile in Lithuania after the Aug. 9 presidential election in Belarus, which election officials claimed that Lukashenko won in a landslide.
Opposition figures and some poll workers say the results were fraudulent and tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest.
Late last month, Tsikhanouskaya met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been pushing for European mediation in the Belarus political crisis.
The European Union said last month it does not recognize Lukashenko as president of Belarus.
Lukashenko, who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1994, has sought to crack down on protesters.
Tsikhanouskaya suggested that other leaders could be involved in helping mediate talks with Lukashenko, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been supporting him.
But, she said, it’s not up to Putin to “decide how to solve our problems.”
“This is our internal problem and it’s only up to Belarussians to get out of this political crisis,” she said. “We want to invite him to be a mediator alongside with other leaders to be mediators in initiating dialogue between our authorities and the people. And that’s it. We want to solve this problem by ourselves.”
Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.