«The situation in Belarus again is of enormous concern, when we think of what’s happening to individuals there, people who are imprisoned. I’m really saddened to see Belarus fail to respond to what could be a really strong and important relationship with the European Union economically and politically. We continue to send out a very strong message and we continue to make it clear that we find the situation intolerable and today will be another opportunity to decide what we should do on that,» HR Catherine Ashton stated upon her arrival to the Foreign Affairs Council.
21 Belarusian officials are to be added to the EU visa ban list according to the agreement reached at the meeting of the Council of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on February 27, 2012, France-Presse agency reports with reference to a diplomatic source. According to the information obtained court officials and law enforcement officers responsible for regime opponents detention and conviction will be blacklisted. The sanctions stipulate EU countries entry ban and assets freeze.
At the meeting held on February 10, 2012 the Council of the European Union adopted a decision broadening the criteria for subjecting persons and entities to restrictive measures. «This paves the way for future designations of those responsible for serious human rights violations or the repression of civil society and the democratic opposition or supporting or benefiting from the Lukashenka regime. Decisions to add persons and entities to the list of those targeted can be taken in the wake of this Council session,» its press release reported.
Originally the list of Belarusian officials, who are banned from entering the EU, included 158 names. But being repeatedly enlarged it has now 208 names. Alexander Lukashenka and his two older sons Viktar and Dzmitry are blacklisted as well. Other 135 Belarusian officials are believed to come under sanctions soon.
According to the information of Belgian web site EUobserver, Slovenia could block the issue of extending sanctions. As Slovenian construction firm Riko Group had won bids for real estate projects with company Triple belonging to Yury Chyzh, this country initially lobbied for getting his name off the new EU list. Mr. Chyzh is believed to be a close associate of Lukashenka and one of his “bag-men”.