David McAllister: On Relations With Belarus
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David McAllister: On Relations With Belarus

Last week, Mr Lukashenka declared that passports will be issued and renewed in Belarus only.

This will effectively leave all those in exile stranded abroad without valid identification. This is another act of subjugation. This is another piece of evidence that the dictator in Minsk is ready to betray his population to secure his own power. Tougher sanctions need to be the consequence – against Lukashenka and all his henchmen that are responsible: for violence, for repression and for the complicity in the atrocities committed in Ukraine.

While Lukashenka is pushing Belarus ever deeper into the Russian orbit, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who we welcomed in Strasbourg on 13 September, presents a diametrically different vision. Let us elevate our relations with the Belarusian democratic forces to a more formal level. The new Consultative Group is a first step in the right direction. It is our duty – it is our self-interest even – to continue providing the opposition with the resources required to keep the Belarusian democratic dream alive.