June 19, 2021

Central European leaders discuss Belarus, fighting COVID-19

The prime ministers of four central European countries were meeting Friday to discuss the political crisis over a disputed presidential election in Belarus, relations with Russia and fighting COVID-19 as they gear up for a European Union summit later this month.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was to brief his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary on his talks in Warsaw this week with Belarusian opposition leaders. They plan to discuss the best forms of support for Belarusian civic society.

Belarus has seen a month of street protests against the results of the country’s Aug. 9 presidential election, which is widely believed to have been rigged. President Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term with 80% of the vote, and protesters are demanding he step down after 26 years of ruling Belarus with an iron fist.

Other subjects on Friday’s agenda for the prime ministers of Europe’s Visegrad Group nations meeting in Poland’s eastern city of Lublin were to include fighting the spread of the coronavirus, limiting the pandemic’s negative effects, and steps that can be taken jointly with other EU nations.

A summit of the 27-member EU is scheduled Sept. 24-25 in Brussels.

Poland currently holds the rotating presidency of the so-called Visegrad 4.

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