US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo met with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius in Washington on Wednesday and expressed his appreciation for Lithuania's role in the situation around Belarus, the press service of the US Department of State reported.
"The Secretary expressed appreciation for Lithuania’s leadership in ensuring the independence and territorial integrity of Belarus and the democratic rights of its people," according to the statement.
The US Secretary of State and the Lithuanian Foreign Minister also discussed contributions to the NATO budget, the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Strait of Hormuz, TASS reports.
Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.