Ljubljana – Foreign Minister Anže Logar expressed Slovenia’s full support for the fight for democracy in Belarus as he hosted on Monday Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. The latter called for further support for the movement and for its cause to remain high on the EU agenda.
“Slovenia is a country that got itself out of an undemocratic system is in particularly attentive in monitoring democratic processes in other countries,” the Slovenian foreign minister told the press after the meeting at the ministry.
Logar endorsed the democratic process in the country, noting that more than 35,000 people who promoted a democratic Belarus had been arrested, and that they usually faced fines that exceed their wages up to four times.
He said that Slovenia, as the presiding EU country in the second half of the year, would put the democratisation and discussion about Belarus high on the agenda of the presidency.
The minister noted that a EU-Eastern Partnership summit will be held during Slovenia’s presidency, and the situation in Belarus will be one of the key topics.
“At the same time, we will also look for opportunities to explain to our partners and international organisations how important this fight for democratisation in Belarus is,” Logar concluded.
Tsikhanouskaya said she was grateful for Slovenia for its “strong position about lawlessness in Belarus” and that it was extremely important to keep Belarus high on the agenda on the international level.
“Belarus is in a deep political and humanitarian crisis and we see new elections as the only way out of this crisis,” she said, adding that sooner or later, the democratic movement would win, hopefully already during Slovenia’s EU presidency.
“I call you to be vocal about the situation in Belarus, especially about human rights and atrocities and tortures in our jails,” Tsikhanouskaya said, calling for a fight against violence and torture, and for human rights and freedom.
The meeting in Ljubljana comes after Logar and Tsikhanouskaya met in Lithuania in October.
Tsikhanouskaya was also received today for an informal talk by Prime Minister Janez Janša, the prime minister’s office said.
Janša said that strong support would continue to be provided for all efforts that strengthen democracy, respect of the rule of law and human rights in Belarus.