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EU must raise pressure on Belarus's Lukashenko: German minister

FILE PHOTO: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his Norwegian counterpart Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide (not pictured) hold a joint news conference, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the foreign ministry guest house Villa Borsig in Berlin, Germany, August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/Pool

BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union will have to increase the pressure it is placing on Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday.

At a joint press conference with his Norwegian counterpart, in Berlin for talks, Maas said that the bloc’s members were in intensive talks about measures, including sanctions, ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

“The brutality and the detention of peaceful protesters and journalists in Belarus isn’t acceptable in the Europe of the 21st century,” Maas told a news conference. “This is why we have to increase the pressure on those in power there.”

Reporting by Thomas Escritt and Thomas Seythal; Editing by Madeline Chambers