Lithuanian and Estonian presidents see progress in settling the Belarus conflict
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on August 14 that the authorities in conflict torn Belarus were signaling interest in a plan for ended the crisis that calls for the Belarus government to end violence against its citizens, release all detainees, and for President Alexander Lukashenko to agree to a “national council” to bring together the government and civil society.
Local media in Lithuania reported Nauseda as saying at a press conference that “through diplomatic channels we received certain signals that our proposals are being followed, evaluated and, I repeat, that the best response to our proposals is the real changes that are currently taking place,” Foreign media reported August 14 that the Belarus authorities have released many of the thousands of people detained for demonstrating, with many complaining of being beaten, abused and tortured in custody.
Nauseda spoke at a joint press conference with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, where she was on a working visit. Both presidents met a day after they, Latvian president Egils Levits and Polish president Andrzej Duda on August 13 issued a joint statement making the same points that Nauseda had proposed on August in the wake of violence against demonstrators who took to the streets of the Belarus capital Minsk and other cities and towns to protest what the considered a rigged election on August 9 where Lukashenko claimed victory.
Slowing the bloodshed
“We have slowed down the bloodshed a bit and I hope we will stop it soon, “ the Estonian president told journalists in Vilnius. In Latvia, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevičs said two Latvian nationals detained by the Belarus police had been released on August 14.
The joint statement by the four presidents said: “We stand ready to offer our mediation efforts to reach a peaceful solution in Belarus and to strengthen your country’s independence and sovereignty.”
However, Lithuania appears to be taking the lead in efforts to find a resolution to the conflict in its neighboring country after Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the leader of the opposition in Belarus who ran against Lukashenko, fled to Lithuania. Several Belarus…