Emmanuel Macron is the first Western leader to meet Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Why does the French president need this initiative?
French President Emmanuel Macron held a meeting in Lithuania with ex-presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya on September 29.
Prior to the meeting with the French leader, Tikhanovskaya was "inaugurated by the people," which evidences that the West is going to recognise her as the President of Belarus, similarly to how it happened to Juan Guaido in Venezuela.
According to Le Monde publication, Macron becomes increasingly "involved" in the crisis in Belarus. Indeed, he became the first Western leader who met with the leader of the Belarusian opposition, who was forced to leave the country.
"We, as Europeans, will do our best to assist mediation in the Belarusian crisis," the newspaper quotes the French president, who added that he intended to return to OSCE mediation in order to achieve progress."
Le Monde also said that Tikhanovskaya was going to speak before members of the French parliament. "We received an invitation (from Macron) to speak at the French parliament and we accepted it," she said.
The politician also said that Macron "supports the idea of mediation, because he understands that in order to start negotiations with Lukashenko, powerful countries must be involved."
"I think he will discuss Belarus with the Russian side and will do everything possible to involve Russia in these negotiations," she added.
According to Tikhanovskaya, the crisis should be resolved "as soon as possible" and new free and fair elections should be held by the end of the year.
Nikolai Litvak, Professor of the Department of Philosophy at MGIMO, author of International Affairs Journal, Doctor of Sociology, told Pravda.Ru that meetings with opposition activists comes as common practice that Western politicians follow, perhaps, with the exception of their "outspoken" allies.
"For example, I don't know that Macron has ever had special meetings with the opposition in the United States, even though they stage rallies there," the expert noted.
According to him, the purpose of Macron's meeting with Tikhanovskaya is to receive first-hand information.
"What statements may follow next from the point of view of the development of the situation is another question. Yet, talking to a person directly to find out and understand their views on things without any misinterpretations - this is a good idea," Nikolai Litvak noted.
According to the sociologist, France and Europe, will most likely take a balanced position and wait for a new electoral cycle in Belarus to start to bring the right person to power, similarly to how it happened in Ukraine.
The sociologist believes that the Belarusian opposition should "seek funding so that European observers attend every polling station next time to record violations."
"One needs to take the matter to the court, rather than to the street. In the United States, they always have 50x50 votes at almost every election. In many cases, the winner of the election is decided by mere hundreds of votes, even though there are 200 million voters in the US. The winner is decided at court, rather than on the street," Nikolai Litvak concluded.
Both the European Union and the United States refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Alexander Lukashenko. On the eve of his three-day visit to Lithuania and Latvia, Emmanuel Macron called the President of Belarus fo resign.
"What is happening in Belarus is a crisis of power, authoritarian power that cannot accept the logic of democracy. It is clear that Lukashenko should leave," Macron said.
Alexander Lukashenko, in response, advised Macron should take a greater effort to look into internal affairs of France.
Experts interviewed by 20minutes.fr publication believe that Macron has extensive presence on the international arena to hide the "vacuum" of his actions in his own country. For example, everyone was waiting for the Macron's reaction to the attack on two journalists in Paris last week, but there was no response from the president of France.
Even when it comes to international agenda, Macron talks a lot about things of no importance.
"He is everywhere, but he is on the pages at the bottom of the stack that no one reads. When it comes to the United States, China or Brexit, we do not hear his opinion," political scientist Jean-Vincent Brisset, senior fellow at the Institute for International and Strategic Studies said.