Opposition Leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya Addresses French National Assembly

On Wednesday, 7 October, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya addressed the deputies of the French National Assembly, expressing gratitude to the leadership of the country for its continued support. Besides, she once again called on the Belarusian authorities to come to the negotiation table.

Excerpts from the speech of the ex-presidential candidate were quoted by her telegram channel.

A freeze-frame of the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya spoke via video link at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house of the French parliament, where the situation in Belarus was discussed. In her address to the deputies, she thanked France and its President Emmanuel Macron for the support of the Belarusian people and assistance in resolving the crisis in the country.

She also reiterated her readiness to negotiate with the Belarusian authorities.

“We once again call on the Belarusian authorities to accept the proposal of the Coordination Council and sit down at the negotiating table with the mediation of the OSCE. We are also grateful to France as an OSCE participating State for launching the Moscow Mechanism to create an independent expert mission to study human rights violations in Belarus. All crimes against the Belarusian people must be investigated, and the perpetrators must necessarily be held accountable,” Tikhanovskaya said.

She stressed that outside support for human rights is not interference in the internal affairs of Belarus, and called on French parliamentarians to express solidarity with famous Belarusians, as well as ordinary citizens of the country, who were equally persecuted by the authorities for their civil position.

At the same time, she mentioned basketball player Elena Levchenko, who was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest for participating in a mass protest, Martha Rabkova, a coordinator of the volunteer service of the deregistered human rights center Vesna detained in a criminal case of preparing mass riots, and members of the Presidium of the Coordination Council Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak.

Recall that on 29 September Svetlana Tikhanovskaya met with French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Vilnius, Lithuania, where she has been living in exile. At the meeting, the head of state promised to do his best to help resolve the political crisis in Belarus.

A week later, on 6 October, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the head of the Coordination Council of the Belarusian opposition in Berlin, where, according to Tikhanovskaya, she expressed support for Belarusians striving for freedom and democracy, admired the courage of Belarusian women, as well as the self-organisation of civil society.

Belarus has been swept by widespread anti-government protests following the disputed election on 9 August that saw Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years now, re-elected for a sixth term.