Here are the main parts of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's speech:
- If the aggressors are allowed to prevail, prospects for freedom and security in Europe will diminish substantially. An emboldened empire with more than a foot inside Europe’s door. New threats across the region. New resources to manipulate.
- We must sanction the aggressors that threaten us. At the same time, we must extend a hand of friendship and support to the people of those countries. This is an important distinction: the regimes that do wrong should be punished. At the same time, ordinary people who do right should be encouraged. Encouraged because of one simple fact: we belong to Europe.
- Our victory in the 2020 election was a message loud and clear: we are Europeans. We want our country back. Back to Belarusians. Our people continue to resist even after widespread crackdowns in the last two years. Some 2000 people have been detained for protesting the war on Ukraine. More than 80 acts of sabotage against the Russian military have been carried out by partisans inside Belarus. And up to 1500 Belarusian volunteers have joined the Ukrainian army.
- I am asking the Council of Europe to establish a steering committee on the relations with Belarus. It should be composed of the various bodies of the Council of Europe and representatives of the democratic forces and civil society of Belarus. This group would jointly determine the priority areas of cooperation. It will conceive, prepare, and launch assistance programs and projects and oversee their implementation.
- This is one, but a very concrete and practical step, and it is also my simple answer to today’s question of the discussion on “what is the role for the Council of Europe”. The role of the Council of Europe is to bring Belarus closer already now.