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Champagne to meet Belarus opposition leader on four-country Europe trip

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne travels to Europe next week where he will meet the exiled opposition leader of Belarus and hold talks on the fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Champagne departs Sunday on a four-country trip that will take him to Greece, Austria, Belgium and Lithuania.

He will cap the trip with a stop in Vilnius, where he will meet with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, where she is seeking refuge after what Champagne has said was a fraudulent election victory by the authoritarian leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, this past summer.

In Vienna, Champagne will meet with representatives of the secretary-general of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which is calling for peaceful negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia after the recent flare-up their long dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

In Brussels, he will meet with his European Union counterpart and the head of NATO.

Champagne will quarantine for 14 days in Canada after the trip, his second transatlantic foray of the COVID-19 era following a four-country trip in August that included a stop in Lebanon.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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