The foreign ministers of the European Union should agree to put increased pressure on the Belarusian authorities due to the force used against protesters following the country's presidential election, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Thursday
BERLIN (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 13th August, 2020) The foreign ministers of the European Union should agree to put increased pressure on the Belarusian authorities due to the force used against protesters following the country's presidential election, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Thursday.
The bloc's foreign ministers are scheduled to hold an extraordinary meeting on Friday to discuss the possibility of levying sanctions on Belarus, Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, said on Wednesday.
"I think it is absolutely obvious that there is brutal treatment and peaceful protesters and journalists are being arrested. This is unacceptable in Europe in the 21st century. Therefore, we will have to continue to increase pressure on the ruler," Maas said at a press conference alongside his Norwegian counterpart, Ine Eriksen Soreide.
Maas referred to the softening of EU sanctions on Minsk over recent years, although the foreign minister said that the option of reinstating punitive measures must be discussed.
"I hope that a common solution will be found on this matter tomorrow," the German foreign minister added.
Several days of protests have taken place across Belarus following the conclusion of Sunday's presidential election, which saw incumbent Alexander Lukashenko win with more than 80 percent of the vote.
European countries have criticized the heavy-handed response of the Belarusian security services. The country's Interior Ministry has already confirmed the death of one protester, who was said to have been attempting to throw an explosive device. A second person has reportedly died in the city of Gomel after being detained by security forces.