Deputy Prime Minister asks EU commissioner to advocate for lifting all sanctions on Belarus

A Belarusian top official called for lifting all sanctions on Belarus during his visit to Brussels last week.

Anatol Kalinin, Belarus’ deputy prime minister, met with Johannes Hahn, European commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and enlargement negotiations, raising the possibility of the full abolition of the European Union’s sanctions targeting Belarus, news agency BelaPAN reports with reference to the press office of the Belarusian Council of Ministers.

Mr. Hahn reportedly promised to discuss the matter with fellow European commissioners.

In addition, the meeting focused on Belarus’ participation in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program.
While in Brussels, Mr. Kalinin also met with Violeta Bulc, European commissioner for transport. They reportedly agreed that joint projects involving assistance to the provinces should be funded through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Belinvestbank.

In October 2015, soon after the presidential election, the European Union suspended sanctions against 171 Belarusian individuals and 10 economic entities for four months. In February 2016, the European Union lifted sanctions on Belarusian authorities, including president Alyaksandr Lukashenka, after noticing ‘some improvement’ in the human rights situation in Belarus. At the same time, the EU upheld the arms embargo on Belarus, as well as sanctions against four senior (at the time) security forces officials, whom the West believes are involved in the disappearance of Lukashenka’s political opponents in 1999-2000.

In case the Belarusian regime continues to breach human rights law, sanctions may return, the bloc warned.

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