Acting Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius: We need an international investigation of crimes perpetrated by the Belarusian regime
On 7 December, the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius took part in the Foreign Affairs Council. The meeting took stock of the latest international developments, including the post-election situation in Georgia, the legislative elections in Venezuela, developments concerning Turkey, human rights and strategic autonomy issues.
Linkevičius said that Belarus had witnessed unprecedented police brutality and violence against its people, which continued to intensify. The authorities have unleashed mass criminal proceedings against more than 1, 000 peaceful protesters. The number of political prisoners has risen to previously unseen heights. The Acting Foreign Minister also voiced support for the European Parliament's resolution of 26 November on the continuous violations of human rights in Belarus.
"The regime has intensified the repression against its own citizens and ignores the international community's warnings. The EU must fully support the international investigation of crimes perpetrated by Lukashenko's regime against the people of Belarus, establish a centre to collect evidence, as well as set up an international panel of law experts. Those responsible will be brought to justice one day," said Linkevičius.
When speaking about the EU’s relations with a new U.S. administration, Linkevičius highlighted the importance of a strategic partnership with the U.S. for the EU as a whole, as well as the joint commitment to preserve transatlantic unity and solidarity. In addition, Linkevičius stressed the need to strengthen cooperation in response to global challenges and threats, also in the areas of security and defence, and when strengthening the multilateral system based on the principles of the rule of law, democracy, and human rights.
“The role of the U.S. in security and defence remains crucial. European security and defence initiatives must neither obscure the importance of the transatlantic link, nor weaken the role of NATO as the main guarantor of Europe's security,” said the Minister, who also stressed the need for a coordinated policy on both sides of the Atlantic toward Russia, unanimous support for the Eastern Neighbourhood countries, especially Belarus and Ukraine, as well as increased coordination on restrictive measures.
Photos: Foreign Affairs Council / European Union