UN Security Council discusses situation in Belarus

UN Security Council discusses situation in Belarus

The United Nations Security Council held a discussion on Belarus Tuesday in which members were urged to do everything they can to stop the crisis from escalating.

Estonia and the United States requested the dialogue, which was held during a closed-door meeting on Yemen, under a portion of the session reserved for discussion of "any other business."

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told the 15-member Council that it "has a key responsibility in the prevention of violent conflict and mass atrocities," according to a statement.

"Using preventive diplomacy at all levels is of utmost importance for avoiding the escalation into violent conflict," the AFP cited him as saying.

"Today's meeting sends a signal that we are closely following the events in Belarus and make sure the secretary-general receives the support necessary to use his preventive diplomacy toolbox where necessary.

"This Council shall remain engaged with the situation and receive update of events if the developments so require," he added.

China, however, said the situation in Belarus was not a matter for the Security Council.

Beijing's permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, "emphasized, what's happening in Belarus is the country's internal affair, and does not pose any threat to regional or international peace and security," according to a Chinese statement.

Belarus is gripped by mass protests against disputed elections earlier this month in which Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory and a sixth term.