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Tsikhanouskaya wants focus on fight for democracy in Belarus

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is vocal opponent of President Lukashenko
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is vocal opponent of President Lukashenko Copyright Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Copyright Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By Mark Armstrong with AP
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On a timely visit to Slovenia, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called for sustained international focus on the struggle for democracy in her home country.

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On a timely visit to Slovenia, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called for sustained international focus on the struggle for democracy in her home country.

Slovenia is due to take over the rotating presidency of the European Union in July.

Tsikhanouskaya has been exiled in Lithuania since the aftermath of last August's elections in Belarus in which she stood as a candidate in place of her jailed husband.

Since leaving Belarus she has campaigned against long-ruling president Alexander Lukashenko, and in Slovenia, she kept up the pressure.

"It is extremely important to keep Belarus high on the agenda at an international level with our difficult fight for democratic changes," Tsikhanouskaya said after a meeting with Slovenia's foreign minister, Anze Logar.

Official results of the Belarus elections handed Lukashenko, who has run Belarus since 1994, his sixth term in office, but Tsikhanouskaya and her supporters refused to recognise the results, arguing they were manipulated.

The resulting fallout led to the largest wave of protests in the ex-Soviet nation's history.

Tsikhanouskaya moved to Lithuania under pressure from the Belarusian authorities. Belarus later became a target of Western sanctions after Lukashenko unleashed a crackdown on the mass demonstrations demanding his resignation.

Slovenia's foreign minister Anže Logar expressed support for the holding of an internationally-observed free and fair election in Belarus.

He said in a statement that Slovenia will seek to keep the situation in Belarus high on the EU agenda.

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