NSC Director for Eastern Europe Christopher Smith, co-chair at Gender Council of the White House Jennifer Klein, NSC Senior Director for Europe Amanda Sloat, and US Ambassador to Belarus Julie Fisher also joined the meeting.
Ms. Tsikhanouskaya updated US officials on the regime’s massive repressions against free media and human rights defenders as well as tortures in Belarusian prisons. She stated that a new free and fair presidential election, as well as the immediate release of political prisoners, are the only solution to the political and human rights crisis in Belarus. She also stressed the importance of bringing to justice those responsible for crimes against the people and sending a clear signal to the Kremlin that it should stop supporting the illegitimate Aliaksandr Lukashenka.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called on the US:
– to increase the pressure on the regime in Belarus through sanctions which will affect specific ‘wallets’, companies, and sectors of the economy, and to close loopholes in the sanctions regime. Such punitive measures should be comprehensive and coordinated with the EU;
– to enhance support for Belarusian civil society – human rights defenders, activists, students, families of political prisoners, crowdfunding initiatives, and media;
– to support the demand of Belarusian people for a new free and fair presidential election in Belarus.