The European Union does not recognize Alexander Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the European Parliament on Tuesday that:
“The situation is clear to us. We consider the August 9 elections illegal. “We do not recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus.”
Borrell said more than 7,500 peaceful protesters have been arrested and 500 cases of violence have been registered against citizens and journalists.
Mr Lukashenko has faced widespread protests since the August 9 election, when he declared himself the winner of a dubious voting and counting process.
The EU has already said it does not recognize Lukashenko’s re-election as legitimate and is in the process of preparing sanctions against those responsible for vote-rigging and violence against protesters.
But diplomats say EU sanctions on Belarus are being blocked by Cyprus, which is seeking action against Turkey first in a dispute over drilling for natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
Borrell said the EU’s credibility was at stake and urged member states to pass sanctions – which require a unanimous vote – ahead of their summit in Brussels later next week.
Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama in his role as Chair of the OSCE has repeatedly offered to mediate dialogue but has been refused. Rama faces accusations of election manipulation in his own country following the electiongate scandal.