Belarus opposition leader calls on US to isolate Lukashenko

·1-min read
Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has called on the US to slap more sanctions on President Alexander Lukashenko

Belarus' exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya called on the US Thursday to impose more sanctions so as to isolate President Alexander Lukashenko, whose election win Washington considers fraudulent.

"I urge you, the elected representatives of American people, to continue acting decisively. We call on the US to engage in international mediation jointly with European partners," Tikhanovskaya said in a virtual appearance at a congressional hearing.

She also called on the US to "use its diplomacy to further isolate Lukashenko and to underscore that his point of political return has been past."

The Belarusian strongman claimed victory for a sixth term in August elections that were widely criticized internationally and by the opposition as fraudulent.

Tikhanovskaya, 38, who says she won the vote, fled abroad after state authorities arrested hundreds of people taking part in mass protests and sentenced many to lengthy jail terms. She lives in Lithuania now.

The US slapped sanctions on nine state-owned companies in Belarus in April in response to the government's repression of pro-democracy protests.

Tikhanovskaya hailed those sanctions by the US Treasury Department as "among the most effective measures" but called on the US to punish other entities in her country.

She also urged the US Congress to consider giving more support to civil society organizations in Belarus, as well as independent media outlets and the private sector, as she said the European Union does.

She also said there has been no major conversation among international powers about how to end the nine month old political crisis in her country.

"We call on the US to take an active part in organizing such an international conference, involving a broad range of stakeholders," she said.

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