In fear of EU toughening the sanctions policy the Belarusian authorities put high hopes on the Eastern neighbours’ support. In addition, official Minsk is believed to be apprehensive about applying economic sanctions, which might affect financial opportunities of Alexander Lukashenka’s regime.
The government has urged the Common Economic Area (CEA) partners to agree a united approach to the issue of EU and US sanctions against Belarus. Referring to a source at the Council of Ministers the Belarusian Private News Agency (BelaPAN) reports that Deputy Prime Minister Siarhei Rumas sent a letter to Russia`s minister of industry and trade, Viktor Khristenko, who chairs the board of the trilateral Eurasian Economic Commission, requesting him to place the issue on the agenda of a meeting to be held by the commission’s Council on February, 22, 2012.
According to Belarusian political analyst Uladzimer Matskevich, Russia and Kazakhstan’s reaction may well go against Belarus. «In an attempt to bail out Nazarbayev and Putin will be holding over a decision. That is why Rumas’request is of no use,» the expert says.
The Deputy Minister’s appeal to the CEA partners stems from the country’s recession, Belarusian economist Alexander Sinkevich thinks. «This appeal gives a sign that Russian national energy prices should be granted to Belarus. It is the issue that has been triggering all the conflicts for the last 10 years,» Alexander Sinkevich points out.
According to the expert, if the best happened Russia and Kazakhstan would adopt a political resolution on the subject. But it is not doubtless to have any economic results, Alexander Sinkevich mentions.
The foreign ministers of the European Union are expected to impose travel and asset freeze sanctions on more Belarusian individuals in response to human rights abuse and the persecution of the government’s political opponents at a meeting on February 27, after the EU Council on February 10 broadened the criteria for designating Belarusian individuals and entities. There are unconfirmed reports that as many as 135 more Belarusians may be added to the EU’s blacklist.
The list currently includes 201 Belarusians.