World, Europe

'Britain on side of Belarus opposition': UK premier

'We are very much on your side, very much in support of what you are doing,' PM Johnson tells Belarusian opposition leader

Karim El-Bar   | 03.08.2021
'Britain on side of Belarus opposition': UK premier UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ( FILE PHOTO - Anadolu Agency )

LONDON

Meeting with Belarus’s opposition leader at his offices at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain stands with the opposition in their attempts to unseat dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

“We are very much on your side, very much in support of what you are doing. We are committed to supporting human rights and civil society in Belarus,” Johnson said.

Responding to Johnson’s comments, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said it was “very important to understand that one of the most powerful countries in the world are supporting Belarus.”

Johnson replied in turn: “We strongly support you, strongly support Belarus, the Belarusian people.”

The meeting came only hours after prominent Belarusian activist Vitaly Shishov was found hanged in a park in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Local police said they have opened a murder investigation.

Johnson also stressed how quick the UK was to implement sanctions against Belarus after a plane carrying another prominent Belarusian activist, Raman Pratasevich, was forced to land in Belarus in May, an incident that outraged the West.

A Downing Street statement following the meeting said: “The Prime Minister and Mrs Tikhanovskaya agreed that the British and Belarusian people share fundamental values such as a belief in democracy, human rights and rule of law. The Prime Minister said the UK stands in solidarity with the people of Belarus and will continue to take action to support them.”

Tsikhanouskaya told reporters outside Downing Street: “I understand you know, I can disappear at any moment.

“I understand this, but I should do what I am doing. I can’t stop, because I feel responsibility for the future of my country, the same as all those Belarusians felt fighting the government, feel their responsibility. But I know that even if I disappear one day, this movement will continue without me.”

Defying public protests, Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko has clung to power after claiming a sixth term in a presidential election last August that was criticized for allegedly being rigged.

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