Macron wants to avoid a repeat of Ukraine in Belarus
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron wants to avoid a repeat in Belarus of what happened in Ukraine, he said on Friday.
He warned against Russian armed involvement in Belarus and said he had enlisted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s help in convincing Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to accept mediation from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Lukashenko has been clinging onto power since an August 9 election. Lukashenko, who has been president since 1994, claimed he won 80 percent of the vote, causing Belarusians to hold mass protests that were violently suppressed by security forces. Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya officially won 10 percent of the vote, but her backers say that in reality, she beat Lukashenko.
“What President Putin told me and Chancellor [Angela] Merkel is that he is favorable for an OSCE mediation but it was Lukaskenko who didn’t, so he has an effort to make there, and we don’t want a repeat of what happened in Ukraine,” Macron said.
Alongside the desire to engage Russia on a diplomatic solution, Macron also had a warning.
“I told President Putin, I consider all foreign intervention in Belarus, starting with an intervention of Russian forces, be they military or internal security, would evidently be an intervention outside the national Belarusian framework and would internationalize and regionalize the issue. So I think this intervention would be badly seen.”