Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya held working meetings with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Parliament Speaker Augusto Santos Silva, Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Sérgio Paulo Sousa Pinto, and Lisbon Mayor Carlos Moedas. She also met with Belarusians of Portugal.
Here is what they discussed at the meetings:
- Facilitating migration for Belarusians relocating from Ukraine or fleeing Belarus. The discussion was about visas, work and residence permits. Portugal promised to continue issuing visas in Minsk (now visas are issued at the Slovak embassy).
- Promoting relocation and enabling the work of Belarusian businesses and IT companies. For example, some employees of PandaDoc, a renowned company founded by Belarusians, have moved to Portugal.
- Creating a Friends of Free Belarus parliamentary group. Ms. Tsikhanouskaya and the Portuguese side agreed to arrange meetings of representatives of the Portuguese Parliament and the Belarusians democratic forces. They also agreed to develop an internship program for Belarusian youth.
- Portugal is willing to support including Belarus in the final document of the EU Council, stating that Belarusians should also have a European perspective after the democratic transition.
- When discussing the 7th package of sanctions against the Lukashenka regime, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya stressed that the pressure must be maintained until the repressions are stopped and political prisoners are released.
- Portugal has effectively curtailed trade with Belarusian state-owned enterprises. Ms. Tsikhanouskaya noted that depriving the regime of resources is essential. With the Foreign Minister, she discussed freezing Belarus’ foreign exchange reserves until the democratic change.
- The national leader of democratic Belarus and President of Portugal talked about possible developments in the region and discussed raising the Belarusian issue at the UN General Assembly in New York. The President emphasized Portugal’s unwavering support for the Belarusian democratic forces.
At each meeting with politicians, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya spoke about the persecution of trade unions, liquidation of NGOs (more than 750 organizations have been shut down or are in the process of liquidation), and the trials against Belarusian partisans.
“I am grateful to Portugal for opening the door to Belarusians fleeing from war and repression. Our IT specialists and businesses are moving here. One day they will definitely return to a free Belarus, but our friendship with your country will continue. I heard from the authorities that Belarus and Portugal’s ties have never been closer. I am convinced that this is just the beginning”, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said.
Photo: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Photo: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho
Photo: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Lisbon Mayor Carlos Moedas
Photo: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya at the meeting with Belarusians and representatives of Ukrainian diaspora
Source: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya