EU Foreign Ministers welcome expanding sanctions

Foreign Affairs Ministers of 27 EU member countries have expressed their consent to expanding smart sanctions towards Belarus, Reuters agency reports referring to a diplomatic source in Brussels.

The closed session of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers Council has begun in Brussels. Its results will be voiced at a briefing which is to start at 18.00 (by Minsk time).

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the EU had to continue its policy of sanctions against the regime of President Lukashenka, whom he described as «the last dictator in Europe.»

«Lukashenka is the last dictator in Europe. We cannot just simply watch when people in Europe are suppressed, locked up, and whole families are suffering,» Westerwelle said. «It is therefore necessary that we continue our policy of sanctions.»

EU High Representative For Foreign and Secure Policy Catherine Ashton reiterated the necessity of releasing the political prisoners before the session. «We do realize that the Belarusian regime should free the political prisoners,» she stressed. Catherine Ashton also expressed deep concern over the actual state of affairs in Belarusian civil society.

According to some Brussels sources, sanctions might be introduced towards 29 Belarusian enterprises and 12 persons taking responsibility for human rights abuse and repressions against opposition and civil society due to their supporting Aliaksandr Lukashenka or backing him financially. They are added to some 230 Belarusians already blacklisted.


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