Walesa to chair round table in Belarus?

Ahead of September elections, Belarusian opposition parties have suggested to President Aleksander Lukashenka that Lech Walesa could host a Round Table in Minsk to solve the political crisis in Belarus.

Opposition leader Aleksander Milinkevich said at the weekend that this could be a isolation to Belarus' increasing international isolation and economic difficulties.

The appeal for Round Table talks chaired by the former Solidarity leader - who lead negotiations between Solidarity and the Communists in 1989 in round table talks in Warsaw - was signed by many well known opposition activists in Belarus such as Vincuk Viacorka, Stanislau Shushkevich and Anatoly Lebedko.

For Lukashenka, sharing power may turn out to be the only possible way to survive in politics. His hitherto most powerful ally - Russia - has recently been giving signals that it is going to stop financing his regime.

Last year Moscow cut off around 5 million dollars in contracts and has recently threatened to cut off gas supplies if Minsk did not agree to increase energy payments.

Lukashenko's room for manoeuvre is limited - cutting ties with Russia would probably mean financial collapse and the end of his regime which has lasted since he first came to power in 1994.

The EU has signalled that if Lukashenka shared power with the opposition - which claims he has constantly rigged elections - it could support Belarusian economy financially.



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