Shaheen Joins Portman & Murphy in Meeting with Belarusian Opposition Leader in Lithuania

June 01, 2021

Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and Chair of the Europe and Regional Security Cooperation SFRC Subcommittee, joined Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) in Lithuania as part of their first stop of their bipartisan congressional delegation in Eastern Europe. They met with Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis in light of the Lukashenka regime’s increasing human rights abuses against political opposition, including the recent hijacking of a civilian airliner to unlawfully arrest and detain journalist Raman Pratasevich. During the meeting, Shaheen and the Senators reaffirmed U.S. commitment to Lithuania and regional partners in promoting democracy and opposing corruption in Belarus.

“I enjoyed meeting with Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis to discuss how to best support the people of Belarus in their path toward democracy. Lithuania is a frontline partner of the U.S. in our coordinated efforts to promote democracy in the region and combat an increasingly aggressive Russia, and I’m grateful for our united rebuke of the severe human rights abuses occurring in Belarus at the hands of the Lukashenka regime,” said Shaheen. “I’m encouraged and inspired by Tsikhanouskaya’s leadership and vision for democracy. The U.S. stands in bipartisan solidarity with the people of Belarus in their pleas for an accountable government, and I’m proud to send a united message with Senators Portman and Murphy that we are wholly opposed to Lukashenka’s corruption and oppression. As chair of the SFRC Europe Subcommittee, I am committed to doing all I can to support Tsikhanouskaya’s efforts and empower the people of Belarus fighting for democracy.”

Following their visit to Lithuania, the Senators will meet members of civil society and with representatives of the Ukrainian and Georgian governments, including opposition party leaders in Georgia serving as Members of Parliament. In Ukraine, the Senators will speak with press to emphasize the urgent need to advance anti-corruption efforts and empower a free, independent media. Additional details about the visit will be available in the coming days.

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