Pompeo Says U.S. May Consider Sanctions Against Belarus, Amid Regime-Change Operations
Aug. 13, 2020 (EIRNS)—Commenting on the post-election situation in Belarus, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. would consider acting multilaterally, and consider imposing sanctions against Belarus. Pompeo made his remarks in an Aug. 12 interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, posted to the U.S. State Department website. In subsequent remarks, Pompeo demanded that new elections be held in the country.
The opposition is demanding a recount in the Aug. 9 election, which re-elected President Aleksandr Lukashenko by 80%, with an 84% voter turnout. The only candidate with more than 2%, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, challenged the figures, demanding a recount, and then fled to Lithuania on Aug. 11, leaving behind mass demonstrations, many of which turned violent. Police arrested some 3,000 people, according to TASS.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told Echo of Moscow radio yesterday that “sanctions must be discussed” and should “not harm the people,” but instead “target those who violate rights and who have used force for no good reason. Concrete sanctions against individuals whom we will agree on for they have deserved such attention from us.” He further said that the EU foreign ministers will speak on the Belarus situation, in an online discussion Aug. 14.
Yesterday, one of the candidates who was ineligible for ballot status Valery Tsepkalo formed a “National Salvation Front for of Belarus.” A former ambassador to the U.S., as a later government official, he had set up and directed Hi-Tech Park focussed on IT in Minsk, but had a falling out with President Lukashenko in the past year. He was barred from registering as a candidate and has currently left the country. According to TASS he told the Telegram channel on Aug. 12 that the Front is aimed at “mobilization of Belarusian people to fight against the violations of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the forceful seizure of state power by Lukashenko A.G.” and the restoration of democratic choice in Belarus. Speaking from Ukraine, he also announced the formation of a fund called “Belarus of the Future,” which will fund oppositionists. Its supervisory council include well-known oppositionists such as author Svetlana Alexievich, opposition politicians Anatoly Lebedko, leader of the United Civil Party which has observer status in the European Parliament European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) group; and Stanislav Bogdankevich, also of United Civil Party, and former head of the National Bank central bank; and journalist Svetlana Kalinkina.
Belarusian law enforcement agencies claim they have found evidence proving that members of presidential candidate rival Viktor Babariko’s campaign team were involved in coordinating the riots taking place in the country, the Belarus-1 TV reported on Aug. 12.