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Macron meets exiled Belarusian opposition leader in Lithuania

French President Emmanuel Macron met exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya on Tuesday morning in Lithuania, sources in Macron's office said.

Vilnius, 29 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) — French President Emmanuel Macron met exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya on Tuesday morning in Lithuania, sources in Macron’s office said.

The meeting at a hotel in the capital Vilnius lasted 35 minutes, the sources said, without initially giving any details of their discussions.

After the meeting, Tikhanovskaya said Macron had promised “to do anything to help support the negotiations during the political crisis in [Belarus],” according to a report by the Baltic News Service (BNS).

On Monday, Macron, who is on an official visit to Lithuania, had repeated his call for a mediation process to bring about a peaceful transition of power in Belarus.

Tikhanovskaya, 38, fled to Lithuania days after the disputed Aug. 9 presidential election amid a violent police crackdown on her supporters.

Another prominent opposition figure, Nobel prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich, left Belarus for Germany on Monday, apparently over concerns for her safety.

There have been protests in Belarus every day since the election, amid allegations that the voting was rigged. More than 7,000 protesters have been detained since the vote.

President Alexander Lukashenko, 66, was inaugurated for his sixth consecutive term in a secretive ceremony in Minsk last week. Mass protests erupted as the inauguration was revealed to the public.

Lukashenko has led the former Soviet republic for more than a quarter of a century, tolerating little dissent.

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