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US says Lukashenko not legitimate leader of Belarus

Belarusians should choose their leaders 'in a free and fair election under independent observation,' says State Department

Servet Günerigök   | 24.09.2020
US says Lukashenko not legitimate leader of Belarus President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko

WASHINGTON

The US announced late Wednesday that it no longer considers Alexander Lukashenko the legitimate president of Belarus, hours after he was officially sworn in for a seventh term. 

"The United States cannot consider Aleksandr Lukashenko the legitimately elected leader of Belarus," said a State Department spokesperson in a statement, according to the Axios news website.

"The path forward should be a national dialogue leading to the Belarusian people enjoying their right to choose their leaders in a free and fair election under independent observation," the statement said.

Lukashenko’s swearing-in ceremony took place at Independence Palace in the capital Minsk, the presidential press office said in a statement.

After the ceremony, he said Belarusians not only re-elected their president, they "defended peaceful life and sovereignty in Belarus."

Protests broke out after Lukashenko, who has served as president since 1994, was declared the winner of Aug. 9 polls. Opposition candidates, however, accused the administration of rigging the vote.

NATO and European leaders have urged Lukashenko to launch a dialogue with the opposition and respect the fundamental human rights of Belarus’ citizens.

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