The European Union will expand sanctions against the regime in Minsk – additional 16 people will be banned from entering the EU starting Monday, informed a source close to the German government.
Judges and prosecutors who are involved in prosecuting and trying human rights defender Ales Bialiatski are among those blacklisted. The information reported by the Polish Press Agency (PAP) came from a source close to Catherine Ashton, head of the EU diplomacy.
There is a consensus among the EU countries on expanding sanctions, and the formal decision should be taken on Monday in Luxemburg during a foreign ministers session, according to Polish EU presidency sources.
Different information came from German sources, who reported that five to six countries object visa ban, and prefare to expand economic sanctions against Belarus. Berlin also supports the economic sanctions.
During the upcoming MFA’s session in Luxemburg, the EU ministers are supposed to talk about the Eastern Partnership summit boycotted by Belarusian officials. During the summit in Warsaw, 27 countries adopted a declaration condemning Belarus for human rights violations, lack of democracy and absence of rule of law. Eastern partners of the EU – Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan – did not place their signatures under the declaration.
There are 192 Belarusian officials banned from entering the EU for their engagement in election fraud in 2006 and 2010 or for participating in crack-down on the opposition. What is more, the EU imposed embargo on weapon export to Belarus, including any kind of equipment that could serve to repress democratic protest. Also, three companies tied to the regime had their assets frozen.
The EU is planning to continue with expanding the scope of sanctions against Lukashenka regime, considering that there has been more negative than positive signals coming from Belarus, – said a high rank EU official. On one hand the Belarusian authorities have released a number of political prisoners, but on the other – the opposition is still facing persecution.