Gallery: President Kersti Kaljulaid meets Svetlana Tikhanovskaya ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

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Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya arrived at Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn on Thursday to meet with President Kersti Kaljulaid.

During the meeting, Kaljulaid said it is the duty of the free world to ensure that the people of Belarus receive a voice and the freedom to choose their future.

The pair discussed the situation in Belarus and the more than five months of continuous protests.

"Violence towards protestors continues and there are no signs of trustworthy inclusive dialogue from the state. The courage of Belarusian citizens is admirable, who continue the peaceful protests for democracy and their basic rights in spite of the cruel repercussions of the authorities," said Kaljulaid.

"It is the duty of the free world to ensure that the people of Belarus receive a voice and the freedom to choose their future. It is clear that for Belarus the way forward can only be with inclusive dialogue from the state and new democratic elections," the president stressed at the meeting.

Tikhanovskaya wrote on Twitter after the meeting that discussions focused on support for the Belarusian people, new sanctions and possible future legal cases.

Tikhanovskaya has been invited to Estonia by outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) and will take part in a UN Security Council virtual meeting on Friday.

She will also meet Kaljulaid and outgoing Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center).

The Arria-formula meeting will draw attention to the unjust detention of journalists in Belarus and other activities threatening media freedom that have been committed by the Belarusian authorities following the presidential elections on August 9, 2020.

Tikhanovskaya is now in exile and is based in Lithuania. She was forced to leave Belarus after leader Alexander Lukashenko had been declared the winner in disputed presidential elections in August.

The three Baltic states have been strong supporters of Tikhanovskaya and have sanctioned dozens of Belarusian officials. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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