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Merkel: Lukashenko refused to talk to me

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to reporters after EU leaders held a video summit on the situation in Belarus, at the Chancellery in Berlin, August 19, 2020. Michael Sohn/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) - Angela Merkel sees no role for herself as a mediator in Belarus after the election two weeks ago, since President Alexander Lukashenko had refused all requests for a phone call, the German Chancellor said.

Speaking after a meeting of European Union leaders, she said the European Union would support Belarusian civil society, but that it was important that the opposition itself decide what it wanted. She said she had warned President Vladimir Putin that a Russian military intervention would “complicate” things.

“I don’t see a role for myself as a mediator at the moment since Lukashenko refused to talk to me, which I regret,” she said. “From our side, we will do everything to push for a national dialogue.”

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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