Russian and Belarusian Foreign Ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Vladimir Makey, discussed over the phone the current situation in Belarus and the Russian minister reiterated Moscow’s support to the initiative to hold a constitutional reform in Belarus, the Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
"The ministers exchanged views on the current situation in Belarus. The Russian side reiterated its support to the initiative of the Belarusian leadership to hold a constitutional reform in the interests of the soonest normalization of the situation in the country," the ministry said.
Besides, the Russian and Belarusian top diplomats discussed preparations for a joint meeting of collegiums of the Russian and Belarusian foreign ministries, due to be held in the Belarusian capital Minsk in November, TASS reports.
The sides also "touched upon pressing issues of cooperation within the framework of key international organizations, first of all at the UN [United Nations] and the OSCE [the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe]."
Belarus held its presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission’s data, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the vote. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who garnered 10.12%, refused to recognize the election’s results and left Belarus. Protests erupted in the country's capital of Minsk and several other cities following the presidential vote, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers.
The deadline for the opposition-led People’s Ultimatum expired on October 25, put forward by Tikhanovskaya to Lukashenko. The demands included the resignation of the incumbent president, the release of political prisoners and an end to violence. The opposition called on workers at industrial enterprises to go on strike starting on October 26, if these demands are not met. However, the country’s authorities say that all facilities continue to operate normally. Meanwhile, several protest activities took place in Minsk and some other cities on Monday and Tuesday.
Lukashenko claimed the need to amend the constitution amid the continuing, expressing his readiness to relegate some presidential powers. According to Lukashenko, the amendment process should be brought as close to ordinary people as possible, which led to establishment of dialogue platforms in the republic’s regions. In this regard, Lukashenko noted the importance of the Nationwide people’s gathering, planned for late December - early January. On October 2, the lower chamber of the Belarusian parliament began accepting proposals on Constitutional amendments.