Belarusians should be given “the freedoms that they are demanding”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, urging authorities in the former Soviet republic not to harm protesters.
“We want the people of Belarus to have the freedoms that they are demanding, that they think are in their best interests,” Pompeo said during a visit to Prague.
“We urge that the non-violent protesters be protected, not harmed. It’s not in anyone’s best interests to do that,” Pompeo told reporters.
He was speaking alongside Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who called the events in Belarus “shocking” after a third night of protests following a disputed election in which President Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term.
Babis said he expected the EU not only to make declarations, but to take action because Belarusians have the right to freedom and democracy.
“The local regime is unacceptable, what is happening in the streets is unacceptable, the course of the election was unacceptable and now the question is whether Europe will only rely on declarations or whether it will act,” the billionaire politician said.
Pompeo was visiting Prague as part of a European tour that will also take him to Austria, Slovenia and Poland.
The agenda for the trip includes countering Chinese company Huawei’s role in 5G network construction, as well as energy security and US troop deployments in the region.