Chief Policeman Talks To His Prisoners in Jail
Belorussian dictator Aleksander Lukashenko talked in the main KGB detention centre to unjustly imprisoned opposition leaders.
Mr Lukashenko claimed that he has spoken for hours with the prisoners seeking to solve the national crisis with a constitutional reform. The Belarusian Presidency published a photo on the Telegram messenger service. The unexpected meeting took place in the prison of the KGB secret service and is said to have lasted four and a half hours.
The photo shows Lukashenko discussing with the opposition at an oval table decorated with flower arrangements. It was said that silence had been agreed on the content of the conversation.
Possible changes to the constitution were discussed, as reported by the opposition portal Nexta. Opposition representatives later criticized it was absurd to hold round table talks in prison.
Lukashenko has so far refused any dialogue
In addition to a member of the Coordination Council of the opposition, a former presidential candidate Mr Viktor Babariko also took part in the talks. Until his arrest in June, he had been Lukashenko's main challenger in the presidential election on August 9th.
The only woman was Ms Lilia Vlasowa, a lawyer on the Opposition Coordination Council. She was arrested in late August.
The Coordinating Council was set up by the opposition after the election to bring about peaceful change. In the meantime, however, all the leading members of the committee are in custody or have fled into exile.
The state-affiliated Telegram channel initially only broadcast a short section of the meeting. Our country lives under the slogan of willingness to enter into dialogue, stated Mr Lukashenko, who had refused to talk to the opposition since the controversial presidential election. Half of them here are lawyers and know that you don't write the constitution on the street, he said.
Mr Lukashenko said he was trying to convince opposition supporters and the whole of Belarusian society to "look at the problem more broadly". The head of state had previously said that constitutional reform would be the solution to the domestic political crisis.
Several ambassadors withdrew from Belarus
Since the presidential election, overshadowed by massive allegations of election fraud, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Belarus to demonstrate against the ruler Lukashenko.
During the protests, some violent clashes broke out between demonstrators and the police, during which numerous people were arrested. The European Union and the Belarusian opposition had not recognized the election result, which Mr Lukashenko declared the clear winner.
Great Britain has now temporarily withdrawn its ambassador Jacqueline Perkins from Belarus, said Foreign Minister Dominic Raab. Great Britain wanted to show solidarity with Poland and Lithuania, who withdrew their ambassadors from the country last week. The German ambassador to Belarus, Mr Manfred Huterer, also left the country temporarily last week.