Belarus opposition says OSCE and U.N. ready to help negotiate with authorities

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya delivers a statement in Vilnius, Lithuania, in this still image obtained from social media

Exiled Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said on Thursday that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations were ready to mediate in any negotiations between her and the government.

“They are ready to organise a platform and act as mediators, as well as to force the regime to negotiate,” Tsikhanouskaya said in a prerecorded video statement released on Thursday.

She said the negotiations could begin in May, with a view to holding an election in the autumn. There was no immediate comment from either the OSCE or the United Nations.

Tens of thousands of Belarusians took to the streets last year after a presidential election on Aug. 9, which President Alexander Lukashenko said he had won but Tsikhanouskaya’s supporters say was stolen from her.

The protests dwindled over the winter and Lukashenko, who refused to step down despite new Western sanctions, appears to have weathered the largest challenge to his 26-year rule, buttressed by support from Moscow, which sees Belarus as a buffer against the European Union and NATO.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.