“As is well known, the Austrian President maintains good relations with many states. He could definitely be more active in our negotiations,” said Tichanowskaja of the “Presse am Sonntag” with a view to Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen.
Van der Bellen received the controversial Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on a highly regarded visit to Vienna a year ago, a few months before the start of the mass protests against the election fraudulent re-election of the ruler. Van der Bellen justified Lukashenko’s reception by saying that “Austria also has economic relations with Belarus” and that “we received the request from a major source to invite President Lukashenko to Vienna”.
The Belarusian opposition leader demanded in the “press” interview that Austria should “express itself more clearly” from an economic point of view. “The telecommunications provider A1 is being forced to switch off the Internet in Belarus. Talk about it openly! Otherwise the provider will suffer a loss of confidence in Belarus. The Raiffeisenbank should not work with state structures. Yes, that means financial losses – but how heavy they weigh in view of.” Millions of lives? Where are the European values? Everyone has to start with himself, “appealed Tichanovskaya.
Tichanowskaja reported that she had spoken to Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (both ÖVP) and “a representative of the President”. She emphasized the special role of Austria in the efforts to find a negotiated solution in Belarus. “The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has its seat in Vienna, all future negotiations will go through Vienna. Vienna will be involved in this process,” she said.
She and her team continue to propose a peaceful way out of the crisis. “We are calling for negotiations under the international presidency,” she said. The Lukashenko case is “an inevitable process”. “Our revolution – or evolution – we can fix it,” she said. Lukashenko could prolong the crisis, “but the price is getting higher and higher”.
Tichanovskaya paid tribute to her Russian colleague Sergej Navalny for the “courage” to return to his country. “He chose the path of fighting the system. That is to be appreciated.” When asked whether she had thought about returning herself, Tichanovskaya replied: “If I return, I would probably also be arrested. I can do more in freedom than in prison. At least that is how I see it at the moment.”
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Tichanowskaja Van der Bellen active advocating talks