EU to continue sanctions policy against Belarusian authorities

The sanctions will be extended to October 31, 2014, Maira Mora, head of the EU Delegation to Belarus, said during an international conference in Vilnius on October 29, 2013.

At that, according to her, the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union is expected to lift its sanctions against 13 citizens of Belarus and 5 Belarusian companies. At the same time, three names will be added to the list, she said, without specifying them.

The EU intends to continue its policy of “critical engagement” with the Belarusian government, and that the removal of sanctions against some individuals and entities did not mean a policy change, the diplomat stresses.

241 Belarusian citizens, including President Aliaksandr Lukashenka and his sons Viktar and Dzmitry, are currently subject to travel bans and 241 persons plus 30 business entities are subject to asset freezes within the EU.

But the bloc is going provide support to the Belarusian people, Ms Mora assures. In the last two years, the EU has increased the amount of assistance to Belarus’ civil society and the Belarusian people in general, she said. The EU will pursue a more active dialogue with Belarusian civil society, including through its European Dialogue on Modernization with Belarus, she said.

Ms Mora expressed regret that although the EU had proposed Schengen visa facilitation talks to Belarus to years before, the Belarusian government so far has given no response to the proposal.

She stressed that the EU was ready to start discussing a detailed plan for Belarus’ full-fledged participation in the Eastern Partnership as soon as Belarus took the “necessary steps.” At present, Belarus may only be involved in multilateral projects within the framework of this program.

Ukraine will “dominate” the forthcoming Eastern Partnership summit, which is to take place in Vilnius on November 28 and 29, Mr. Mora said, explaining that the meeting was expected to result in the signing of an association agreement between the EU and Ukraine. She expressed hope that Belarus would dominate an Eastern Partnership summit to be held in her native city of Riga, Latvia, in two-year time.

Belsat, following BelaPAN

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