New York, Jul 29 (AP): The chief of Belarus’ embattled opposition hopes the US and Europe will impose new sanctions on money-making authorities enterprises that can result in the collapse of President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime and a peaceable transition that pro-democracy supporters are making ready for as a result of “it can happen very fast.” Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the principle opposition challenger to Lukashenko in final August’s disputed election, stated the previous Soviet Union very unexpectedly collapsed in six days and “the same situation can happen in Belarus and … our task is to be mobilised.” She was interviewed by The Related Press in New York Tuesday after a spherical of high-level conferences in Washington with senior administration officers and members of Congress the place she urged the US to take “active and non-symbolic” measures in response to a crackdown by Lukashenko on Belarus dissidents.
Tsikhanouskaya returned to Washington on Wednesday to fulfill President Joe Biden who spoke out for pro-democracy forces in Belarus, tweeted that he was “honored to meet her,” and stated “the United States stands with the people of Belarus in their quest for democracy and universal human rights.” Tsikhanouskaya known as the assembly with Biden “a big step forward, but we still have a long way to go.” She said in a phone interview with AP: “I secured the support of president Biden in that the US will stand together with Belarus in our very difficult fight right now.” She said they didn’t discuss specific new sanctions on Belarus, but talked about the need to ramp up the pressure on the Lukashenko regime.
Tsikhanouskaya said she urged US officials to support negotiations aimed at new national elections under international monitoring, and to provide emergency funding for Belarus’ besieged civil society and news media.
She said in Tuesday’s interview that “the most powerful lever” to weaken the regime is sanctions, and he or she is “confident the USA will do everything possible to be with Belarusians in this fight.” “We will see what will be (the) response, but I’m sure that new sanctions are near, and American sanctions, together, of course, with the European sanctions, will have a huge impact on the regime,” she stated.
Months of protests rocked Belarus after Lukashenko’s declaration of victory for a sixth time period within the August 2020 election, a vote that the opposition and the West denounced as neither free nor honest.
Belarusian authorities responded to very large post-election opposition demonstrations with an enormous crackdown, together with police beating 1000’s of demonstrators and arresting greater than 35,000 folks.
Main opposition figures have been jailed — together with Tsikhanouskaya’s husband who had sought the presidency — or been compelled to depart the nation, whereas unbiased media retailers have had their workplaces searched and their journalists arrested.
The West responded to the crackdown by imposing sanctions on Belarus. The European Union and the US ramped up restrictions after Belarus in Could diverted a passenger jet to Minsk to arrest a dissident journalist. The federal government in neighboring Lithuania has accused Belarusian authorities of organizing a circulate of migrants from the Center East and Africa in retaliation.
Tsikhanouskaya defined that Lukashenko’s energy relies on cash and legislation enforcement, and the opposition is now looking for to place stress on the economic system, which might reduce one among these pillars, by urging even harder sanctions.
“Economic pressure on the regime, on cronies, on sectors like oil, potash, steel, wood, financial sphere — this constant pressure will help to split allies inside the regime,” she stated.
“Any trigger can happen,” Tsikhanouskaya stated. “We are listening to the people on the ground, what they are prepared for, and impatience of people is growing, and nobody know what can be the trigger for new mass demonstrations for fall of this regime.” She stated most individuals within the regime “are not loyal to the regime” however like nearly all Belarusians immediately they’re frightened for themselves, their households and their safety as a result of arrests and kidnappings proceed to happen.
Tsikhanouskaya stated the specter of sanctions beforehand made Lukashenko launch political prisoners and cease violence, so historical past may be repeated, “and we have to impose many points of pressure on the regime.” “Sanctions is not (a) silver bullet,” she stated. “Sanctions will not bring our country to democracy, but for sure it will help to split elites in order to make cronies of Lukashenko understand that Lukashenko’s time is over.” Tsikhanouskaya said these people will have to decide for themselves: “Are they going to be on this sinking boat or join civil society that wants to build (a) new and prosperous, open, transparent Belarus.” Tsikhanouskaya, who fled to Lithuania below stress from Belarus authorities after the election, stated she is in fixed contact with the pro-democracy motion within the nation.
“We coordinate our actions because we have one enemy, and we have to put multi-points of pressure on the regime and this is our strategy,” she stated.
Tsikhanouskaya stated the opposition is enterprise a variety of steps “just to be prepared when the regime collapses” together with holding a convention on new elections and dealing on a platform for negotiations and on financial and constitutional reforms.
“Our goal is new elections, transparent, under observation of international observers,” she stated.
“This is the only way out of (the) crisis in Belarus.” Tsikhanouskaya stated the opposition has known as for dialogue with representatives of Lukashenko’s regime.
“They also understand that there is no way out from this crisis, only negotiations,” she stated.
Whereas it is easy to suppress demonstrations, Tsikhanouskaya stated, the protests by which nearly all of Belarusians participated modified folks, and it is not possible for the federal government to affect them now.
“They step by step continue to resist and it’s unstoppable,” she stated. “They want to build a new Belarus together, and everyone is responsible.” Tsikhanouskaya, requested about her security, stated no Belarusian is protected in the mean time.
“But even if one day I disappear, the movement will not end … because everyone is fighting at the moment,” she stated. “We don’t need leaders of this uprising because everyone is the leader.” (AP) CPS
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