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Belarusian opposition leader to visit Spain


Belarusian opposition leader to visit Spain

Photo: AP Photo/ Sergei Grits

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya will begin a three-day visit to Spain today.

Over the course of her visit, Tikhanovskaya will hold discussions over videoconference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez as well as meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha González Laya in person.

The trip comes days after Tikhanovskaya and other opposition members were awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament. The Belarusian opposition has received widespread support from EU officials and European leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Moreover, the European Parliament has refused to recognise the results of the August presidential election in Belarus, which purportedly saw the re-election of Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Expect these meetings to conclude with a declaration of support from Prime Minister Sanchez and the Spanish government. The EU introduced a third round of sanctions against Belarussian officials on December 17, building upon previous sanctions imposed in October and November. The new sanctions target officials including the deputy prime minister and the head of Belarus’ state news network Belteleradio. With renewed support from European leaders, expect financial pressure on Belarus to continue. Tikhanovskaya has urged the targeting of financial institutions, and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has expressed tentative support if individual sanctions fail.

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