Report: Aide to Lukashenko met with Lithuanian president

Vilnius - A senior aide to Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko has paid a low-profile visit to Lithuania, the current chair the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), local media reported Thursday.

Vladimir Makey, head of Lukashenko's office, held talks with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite earlier this week, a presidential spokesman told the daily Lietuovos Rytas.

No details of the discussions were disclosed.

The meeting formed 'part of a series of diplomatic steps Lithuania has taken as the chairman of the Organization for Security and Co- operation in Europe (OSCE),' spokesman Linas Balsys said.

Grybauskaite has consistently argued against the imposition of fresh sanctions against Belarus.

Though she has condemned Lukashenko's brutal actions against his opponents, she has been almost alone among European Union leaders in criticizing their protests after the December 19 election, in which the incumbent president claimed victory.

A wide-ranging crackdown against government opponents has continued through January in Belarus. Dozens of opposition leaders and journalists are now awaiting trial in connection with demonstrations against what were widely condemned as the election's rigged results.

Lithuania holds the chair of the OSCE until the end of the year.

EU foreign ministers were expected to decide later this month on whether to impose a travel ban on Lukashenko and senior members of his government.


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