MINSK (Reuters) - The German government said on Monday Chancellor Angela Merkel had not spoken by telephone with Alexander Lukashenko since an Aug. 9 presidential election in Belarus, after Lukashenko said Merkel had called on Sunday asking to talk.
The Belarusian leader faces the biggest challenge to his 26-year rule amid protests and strikes against his declaration that he won the election.
“Yesterday Merkel called, ‘I want to talk,’” Interfax news agency quoted Lukashenko as saying on Monday.
A spokesman for the German government said the two leaders had not spoken to each other.
“Such a conversation between Merkel and Lukashenko has not taken place since the elections,” the spokesman told Reuters.
Lukashenko faces the threat of European Union sanctions after a crackdown on protests following what demonstrators say was his rigged re-election victory last week. He denies losing, citing official results that gave him just over 80% of the vote.
Reporting by Andrey Makhovsky in Minsk, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Moscow and Andreas Rinke and Thomas Escritt in Berlin; Editing by Chris Reese and Peter Graff
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