JRL NEWSWATCH: “Merkel and Putin discuss political crisis in Belarus” – Financial Times/ Guy Chazan, Henry Foy, James Shotter, Max Seddon
“German leader’s talks with counterpart acknowledge Russia’s crucial role in deciding fate of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.”
“… Merkel called … Putin … Tuesday to discuss Belarus[,] … tacit acknowledgment of his pivotal role …. Moscow has propped up … Lukashenko financially and militarily throughout [Lukashenko’s] 26 years in power … the Kremlin has remained on the sidelines since his disputed re-election nine days ago sparked mass protests demanding his resignation. … Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, regarded by … protesters as the [election’s] real winner … called on … Belarusian security apparatus [members] to switch sides. …. Merkel’s office said she … stressed … that the Belarusian government ‘ must refrain from violence against peaceful demonstrators … release political prisoners and enter a national dialogue with the opposition and [civil] society.’ … [According to the Kremlin,] Putin … ’emphasised the unacceptability of any outside attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of [Belarus], leading to a further escalation ….’ …”
Merkel’s German CDU/CSU party has declared that Belarus’ elections were clearly rigged and has called for them to be held again with international observers.
[photos are file photos from other occasions]